Schoolcraft prepares to replace lead water lines

By Rob Peterson

The Village of Schoolcraft, facing a state requirement that is replace lead water lines, has been awarded a state grant to pay 80% of water testing costs, verifying water pipes and updating service maps.

But it cannot be used for replacing the water lines.

Those developments were contained in reports from village engineering consultants Prein & Newhoff and the municipal finance firm of Baker Tilly on the availability of grant funds for sewer and water projects.

Mike Presta of Prein & Newhoff indicated that he is working on another potential funding source through U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

Andy Campbell of Baker Tilly reported that the best option for funding the replacement of the water lines is the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, administered by the State of Michigan. It is a low-interest loan for lead pipe replacement. The village is not eligible for grant funds because the median household income is too high.

There are no grant funds for a sewer system, another frequent topic in the village. The best option for a new sewer system would be a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Campbell asked the council for direction on the matter.

Council President Keith Gunnett responded. “We are leaning more towards just doing the water lines now, given the cost of sewer.”

John Stears, a resident of Brady Township, came to the next meeting to challenge the council on this decision. “I’ve been working in waste water treatment plants my entire career, and I’m disappointed in the lack of progress” on installing a sewer system. “When was the last time you saw a manufacturing facility expand without sewer?”

Leave a Reply