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By Sterling McGinn

The Newberry Village Council and members of the Water and Light Board met to discuss the future of the state-mandated lead service line replacement project that has to be completed in the next 25 years.

The meeting was held virtually and in-person on Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. Only three members of the public were present.

The purpose of the joint session was for both boards to hear a presentation made by U.P. Engineers and Architects engineer Matt Treado.

“A lot of different regulatory requirements have been passed in response to the Flint crisis,” said Treado. Both boards heard suggested timelines for the unfunded project, along with possible funding and projected costs.

“The drinking material systems inventory is focused specifically on knowing what our service line material is on all of the water services in the system,” Treado stated. “They require us to go in and dig up portions of the system, and correlate with the records and come up with a final report.”

Treado noted that the final service line report is due in January of 2025.

Every municipal water system in Michigan is required to meet the mandated requirements for the service line replacements.

Parts of the project have to be completed in the next three to five years, and the whole project has to be finished within 25 years.

Twenty percent of the Newberry water system will need to be excavated for a visual inspection at the service, or curb stop line.

“Twenty percent of your 800 services is about 160 services that will need to be reviewed, completed and done by the 2025 deadline,” explained Treado. “Once that report is complete, we are on a 20-year removal and replacement schedule.”

A rough estimate on the total amount of money the project will cost the village will be available within a few years.

Engineers presented the council with a map showing the water system, but the map was not available to public participants.

No motions or formal action were taken at the meeting. The two boards listened and asked questions for the remainder of the session.