2018-01-07 / News

Karegnondi Water Authority now serving Montrose

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter


Montrose City manager Neil Rankin, councilman Thomas Bigelow, Sam Spence and Mitch Bigelow took a tour of the new water treatment plant in December. Here is a view inside the new Karegondi water treatment plant. 
Courtesy photos Montrose City manager Neil Rankin, councilman Thomas Bigelow, Sam Spence and Mitch Bigelow took a tour of the new water treatment plant in December. Here is a view inside the new Karegondi water treatment plant. Courtesy photos MONTROSE – In December, Montrose Township and City of Montrose water supply switched from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) [formerly the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD)] to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). The Karegnondi pipeline carries water from Lake Huron to Genesee County for treatment before distributing it to customers, including the city and township of Montrose.

Montrose Township Supervisor Mark Emmendorfer said, “We have approximately 375 water customers. They all are receiving their water from the Karegnondi plant. This should put an end to the double digit yearly increases from the GLWA.”

During the Thursday, Dec. 21 meeting of the Montrose City Council, councilman Thomas Bigelow said, “Water is now going through KWA.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, after several weeks on the KWA system, Montrose City Manager Neil Rankin said, “It’s going great. [The switch was] seamless, really.”

He explained that since the switch, the city has been monitoring the water quality from several points in town, complying with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. The monitoring involves testing water, primarily for lead and copper content. Rankin assures that the tests have all come back well within the EPA limits.

He explained in Montrose, the pipes belong to the city, the water belongs to the KWA. As a result, Montrose has been evaluated to ensure that the city is capable of maintaining the water system.

Rankin said, “The state doesn’t want to have an issue where we don’t have the revenues to maintain our current infrastructure [like Flint did].”

The Karegnondi was developed with the intent of providing improved service and controlled cost for all, and a regional collaboration that spans nearly 40 percent of the State of Michigan’s population.

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright prepared a historical recount of how the Karegnondi Water Authority was formed in response to a civil rights complaint filed against it. In it, Wright explained that in response to escalating water prices from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), an engineering study was commissioned between the years of 2007 and 2009. The study results determined that it would save Genesee County residents money to build a new pipeline from Lake Huron together with other participating communities.

The city of Montrose has 667 water meters, and nearly 10 miles of water lines running through the city.

Rankin said, “Water rates are expected to stay the same through at least 2020. You’ll never see rates go down, they’ll just stay flat for a while.” He explained that authorities are required to have open books, so he is confident that the Karegnondi won’t follow the ways of the DWSD/GLWA. However, because they have a new water supply, the EPA requires more testing.

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