Allegan Township board members said U.S. EPA officials have told them a project to extend city water is likely to recieve a grant for construction costs.

Water lines for tainted township wells one step closer

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

Two roads just southeast of city limits in Allegan Township are all but assured to receive new water lines soon.

Allegan Township board members approved paying for an approximately $70,000 contract with civil and environmental engineering firm Prein & Newhof to draft plans to run city water lines out along M-89 and south to the ends of 29th Street and Jeffrey Drive.

Township supervisor Steve Schulz said, “The (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is working on getting us a grant for the cost of the construction. So, we’re pretty much sure we’ll be getting that... They asked us to pay for the engineering.”

Three residential wells near them tested positive for elevated levels of chromium, a carcinogen, last year. Even now, several homes cannot use their well water for drinking or bathing. In April, Allegan Township officials committed to investigating the project and agreed to begin survey work.

Schulz made clear the EPA had not officially secured a grant yet for the project.

“I think we’re getting the money, but it’s not 100 percent guaranteed,” he said.

He noted that even if the EPA did not fund the project, the township had money saved in its capital improvement fund and recreation fund and could cover the construction costs without borrowing money.

“If we can make them whole out there, we’re preserving property values,” he said.

Township clerk Linda Evans said, “Something needs to be done,” and she made the motion to sign the contract with Prein & Newhof, supported by board trustee Jim Connell. It passed unanimously.

Schulz said the work would be pursued for this building season, made possible because of the survey work already done by the firm.

In April, board members also discussed funding additional lines even further out to a nearby mobile home park, which draws its water from a private well. That remains a concept, however; no engineering has been authorized for that work.

“We haven’t totally decided on that yet,” Schulz said, noting he had not spoken with that property’s owner yet about whether or not the business could contribute financially for the work.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

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