ISHPEMING, Mich. (WZMQ) – The City of Ishpeming is preparing to start a $16 million sewer infrastructure project to replace 25,000 feet of sewer main, after receiving half of the funds from a state grant. The funds deligated towards the project come from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to replace the sewer infrastructure, aimed at forming a long-term solution to the aging pipelines.
City Manager Craig Cugini said they do have a contractor in place and plan to start construction in the spring of 2024, but are still awaiting approval from the state to begin the project. “There’ll be some systems where we monitor where sewer is a gravity-fed system it has to pitch downhill at some point the downhill isn’t significant enough to make it to the treatment plants so you have to lift it to create a new downhill,” commented Cugini.
The city applied for money to install new PVC pipes through water and sewage pipelines but recieved only enough to cover the replacement of the sewage lines.
“While we were doing this over a year the market changed so what we thought we would get with 16 million in 2022 is not what can get with 16 million in 2024 there’s water and sewer down the same street well we don’t want to tear up the roadways this year and have to get water money later and have to tear up the whole same new road and put water lines in so we’re working on a dig once philosophy,” explained Cugini.
The main line still consists of clay and asphalt pipes, the Ishpeming Water Treatment Facility did confirm that these pipes are over 70 years old, and with the frequent weather changes faced in the UP, the integrity of water/sewage main pipes can only last so long. “It’s at a state where it needs to be replaced this is our best way to make the maximum effort to repair very old infrastructure, failing infrastructure with the least amount of impact to our residents,” continued Cugini.
The water treatment facility on average can handle around 2.3 million gallons of sewage water a day however, with large snow storms like on May 1st (pictured below) of this year, the facility there were around 10.5 million gallons stressing the pipelines per day.
“We’ve been wearing out the treatment plant we’ve been wearing out our pipes cause all that extra water is carrying through the system and so what we’re trying to do is seal this pipe and make it so we don’t have that groundwater infiltration it saves at the other end of the line,” explained Cugini.
Once a Notice to Proceed is obtained from the state, contractors can start on the replacement. The Grant timeline gives the city until December of 2026 to finalize this project, but the city plans to have this project completed by the fall of 2024.
Click here, if you’d like to know more about the sewer main replacement and its impact on residents of Ishpeming.