Bear Lake’s water system project to start soon

BEAR LAKE — Fruits of nearly four years worth of labor will soon be recognized in the Village of Bear Lake, as officials this week signed the closing paperwork for the long awaited water supply system project.

Officials from the Village of Bear Lake, United States Department of Agriculture and Fleis & VandenBrink signed the closing paperwork this week for the village’s water supply system project. (Courtesy photo)

Officials from the Village of Bear Lake, United States Department of Agriculture and Fleis & VandenBrink signed the closing paperwork this week for the village’s water supply system project. (Courtesy photo)

“Lots of hard work is finally coming to fruition,” said village president Jeff Bair. “There’s been a lot of people who have put a lot of time and energy into making this happen, so to finally get some shovels in the ground is feeling really good.”

The $4 million project will upgrade wells, water mains, well houses and fire hydrants in the village, replacing an outdated system that was determined to have undersized water mains and unreliable wells, both at the end of their lifespan.

Construction on the project — which consists of two major components — is slated to begin in late May to early June, with final completion of the water system expected by the end of 2018.

The need for upgrading the village’s water supply system was laid out in a Water System Reliability Study, conducted in 2013, as well as a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water System Evaluation in 2014.

Those procedures determined the village had undersized water mains to maintain reliable water pressure; aged wells that were unable to meet desired flow capacity; a number of inoperable valves and hydrants in the distribution system; unreliable well house disinfection equipment; and the absence of water meters for customers in the village.

In 2016, the village was awarded a $2.6 million grant and a $1.6 million loan from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development for the project, which consists of the installation of larger diameter water mains in various sections of the village; replacement of the two existing wells with wells of higher capacity; installation of new well houses; replacement of inoperable valves and hydrants; and installation of water meters for all village customers for accurate billing and water loss evaluations.

The village went out for bids on the project in February, seeking contractors for two portions of the project, one focused on water mains/infrastructure and the other on the drilling of the wells.

After receiving recommendations from its engineering firm Fleis & VandenBrink, as well as the USDA, the village board awarded the contracts to Gustafson HDD LLC of Pentwater and Cole Inc. of Cadillac.

The new wells will be installed on the east side of Smith Street, opposite of the current wells. Water mains will be installed along U.S. 31 and eight other streets in the village, servicing approximately 190 households.

“Updates on the construction will be posted on our website (bearlakemichigan.org) and at the library (12325 Virginia St.), and the contractors will be contacting individual property owners when it’s time to do work on their street,” Bair said.

 

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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