Ishpeming to improve water system with $20 million investment

What's happening: The city of Ishpeming will take on a significant overhaul of its drinking water infrastructure, with a $20 million project set to enhance the city's water system. The State of Michigan, through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), has earmarked Ishpeming in its 2024 Intended Use Plan for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. At the completion of the project, Ishpeming looks to greatly increase its safe drinking water capabilities and address increased water needs in parts of the city.

How is it funded: This financial plan paves the way for the city to receive half of the project's cost as a grant and the remaining half as a low-interest loan at a 2 percent interest rate with additional funding coming from multiple sources to address different issues in the water system. American Rescue Plan funds total $9,896,800 in grant funding and a $9,893,400 loan from EGLE through the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Additional funding includes $170,000 for Lead Service Line Costs, and $86,700 for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) DWSRF Loan, with $83,300 qualifying for principal forgiveness for addressing lead pipes in the system. 

What they're saying: “Our residents and business owners voiced their support to the state during the public comment period, having a direct impact on the city scoring in the fundable range for this significant and very competitive funding, which will improve our infrastructure,” said Craig Cugini, Ishpeming city manager. “The notice that went out statewide even called out the volume of comments from our community in the state’s decision to score Ishpeming into fundable range for the project. We want to thank those who sent comments in and celebrate what can happen when we unite our voices.”

What's next: Project managers will be running various tests and surveys to fully determine the condition of the water infrastructure and where it is located. Various processes like “dig once” will be determined after mapping and identifying pipes throughout Ishpeming by clarifying which pipes will receive an upgrade. 
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