ALPENA - Alpena Municipal Council approved spending $23,900 to have Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber find a fix to the water treatment plant's intake system. The system is being threatened by low water levels and if alterations aren't considered water distribution in the city could be disrupted if the lake's levels continue to decline.
During a report to the council during its meeting on Monday, United Water Manager Mike Glowinski explained the intake pipe is used to draw water from Thunder Bay to be treated and distributed. He listed several things the firm will study and what it will do with the information it collects.
"They will look at the entire plant as a whole. They will look at the condition, look at where we might be able to find a deeper source of water, water quality and our demand," Glowinski said. "They will look at basically our entire operation and then make a recommendation that will include cost estimates."
Currently there is one main line into the lake with two intakes. The inner intake is 1,000 feet long and the outer is 2,000 feet long. Glowinski said it is possible it would have to be extended out to 5,000 feet. He said last winter there was a close call where the city almost lost water service when ice conditions affected operations.
"We elected not to open up the winter intake, which was standard procedure, because the water level was at such a low point we figured it would be best to just keep it closed," Glowinski. "The outer froze up and we were unable to draw water into the plant to flush ice out of the line. We ended up opening the inner crib and it worked, but we were about two hours from not having any water. I don't ever want anything like that to happen again."
Glowinski said the study should be completed in the next 12 months and then a presentation will be presented to council, which will choose what path the city should take. Glowinski was hesitant to estimate how much the upgrades could cost.
In other business, Mayor Waligora appointed Mark Hunter and Glowinski to the planning commission for a three-year term and Erin Riopelle to the wildlife sanctuary committee for a three-year term.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.