2013-01-20 / Front Page

Valves need exercise too

Chesaning DPW director reports on water system
BY JEANNE MARCELLO STAFF REPORTER

CHESANING – DPW Director Dennis Sizemore discussed village infrastructure during the Jan. 15 meeting of the Chesaning Village Council.

“The DEQ requires that we exercise all valves every three years. It took us four years. We located 156 valves. There were six valves we couldn’t locate,” Sizemore stated.

He reported that they were able to exercise 141 valves, another six were broken, and nine had shifted.

“We need to plan to repair or replace the six that are broken,” he continued. He feels that as long as they put a plan into action and make progress, DEQ officials are likely to be okay with how they’re handling the situation.

Since the village enacted the sewer inspection ordinance, DPW staff has inspected 87 homes; finding eight footing drains and seven sump pumps connected to the village’s sanitary sewer system; instead of the storm system.

The sewer connection inspection ordinance came about as the result of the DEQ’s requirement that the village disconnect storm drains from the sanitary sewer. The reason is to reduce the chance of raw sewage entering the Shiawassee River during peak rainfall or other incidents of flooding. The ordinance is designed to comply with DEQ requirements to have the storm sewers disconnected from the sanitary sewer, without overburdening existing home owners. The ordinance requires sewer inspections when properties change hands.

“It’s a lot cheaper than I expected, separating footing drains,” Sizemore told the council. “I’ve been trying to make this as easy on the residents as possible,” he added.

He explained that of the 87 inspections, there were only 23 cases where they couldn’t video the line. And of those 23, 15 were found to be bad. Some were blocked by tree roots.

Council members also talked about the problem of properties that had been transferred without an inspection. Houses have to be inspected before they are sold. If a property doesn’t pass inspection, then the seller pays for the work.

Moving on to water supply, Sizemore noted that the number of waterline breaks has been very low this winter; however that may change as the weather gets colder.

The water tower is scheduled to be cleaned by a contractor, probably this spring. During the cleaning, the water tower will be offline for about three months. The valves in the water system will help maintain the pressure.

The water tower has been pumping water at 50 pounds per square inch; although at Big Rock Elementary School the water pressure is down to 40 pounds per square inch. There was some discussion about the possibility of increasing the water pressure in town.

The village still has a few old Traverse City fire hydrants that need to be repaired or replaced. Sizemore told the council that $5,000 had been budgeted for hydrant work last year. “We repaired all the ones we could repair fairly easily. But three didn’t have isolation valves,” he said; explaining they would have to shut down water for the entire neighborhood to do the repair.

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