During a special meeting Monday, June 28, Owosso City Council held a public hearing on a lead and galvanized service line replacement project. Owosso Utilities Director Ryan Suchanek offered a summary of the plan as the city is currently seeking $3 million in funding to replace lead/galvanized service lines over a three-year period starting next spring, with some leeway offered to a fourth-year extension if needed. Council approved going forward with the project, authorizing Suchanek to represent the city on the issue.

   “This is a need,” Suchanek stated during the meeting. “This is something that has been mandated by the state’s LCR Rule.”

   Discussing the plan, Suchanek offered, “For efficiency purposes, anything that’s a current project or a selected future project has been taken into consideration with priority, as well as problematic known areas.” The overall plan is to make service line replacement efficient and logical, so as not to have to backtrack, possibly digging up new streets, etc.

   In a memorandum by Suchanek, he explained that the “purpose of the proposed project is to comply with the State of Michigan’s Lead and Copper Rules (LCR) and the Michigan Water Act.” The state now requires the removal of all lead service lines in Michigan, a change from previous years that happened under Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. Now under state requirements, water suppliers must replace an average of 5-percent of lead service lines every year for the next 20 years. The adoption of these new requirements is part of the Michigan Safe Water Drinking Act. Communities and/or municipalities must now locate and prioritize lead service lines for removal, which is why Owosso addressed the proposed plan during the special meeting.

   According to Suchanek, the city has submitted an application for $3 million from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to assist with the removal project. All water service line replacement costs are eligible for reimbursement because the city “has obtained disadvantaged community status in accordance with EGLE guidelines.”

   The $3 million can only be used for construction costs, however. Any other project expenses are not covered under this sum – and there is a limit of $5,000 per any one address, meaning anything outside of $5,000 would need to come through the city. Also, because Owosso has under 50,000 residents, $3 million is the maximum amount the city can seek. The hope is the city will be able to target 200 to 250 houses per year (possibly more) over the three-year period, which is a portion of the larger 20-year state mandate.

   Suchanek also shared that residents should expect some noise, dust, possibly additional equipment traffic and intermittent water shutoffs where service lines are being replaced.

   No citizens spoke on the issue during the public hearing and the city did not receive any prior communication from residents.

   The next regular city council meeting is planned for Tuesday, July 6 at city hall.

Owosso Discusses Lead and Galvanized Service Line Replacement was last modified: July 6th, 2021 by Karen Elford