By Dan Shriner
A water system reliability report by engineers has recommended improvements costing about $7.8 million to bring Lake Orion’s aging water system up to date.
The report, submitted by engineers from the firm of Hubbell, Roth and Clark, to the Village Council Monday night, suggested the improvements be done in four phases, with the first phase in the northwest section of the village.
The improvements would replace 39,200 feet – or about 7.4 miles — of water lines that are two, four or six-inch lines with eight-inch lines.
The northwest quadrant has been plagued by low water pressure to some fire hydrants. It includes areas on Lake Orion’s islands and peninsula areas. The improvements to this region would include burying a water line under the waterbed in Lake Orion.
The second phase would be in the northeast quadrant, along M-24 north of Flint Street. The third phase is the southwest area of the village, including the John Winters subdivision and near Heights and M-24. The final area would be the southeast quadrant, including along Orion Road, where officials said there are some low water flow areas.
It is unknown when any such improvements might begin but it is likely they will be spread over many years. Some of the lower-priority improvement areas could be a long as 20 years before the improvements are completed.
Following the report, Village Manager Darwin McClary said officials will be discussing how to pay for the improvements and when they may begin. It is expected the improvements will require increases in water rates.
The water system reliability and capital improvement report, which is required by state law every five years, looked at water pressure rates in residential and commercial applications as well as several other factors. Four engineers from Hubbell, Roth and Clark made the presentation to council members.
One of the engineers, Nicole Selais, told council members that the village’s issues concern water pressure at fire hydrants. Those problems include areas where there are two, four or six-inch lines and in some areas where aged eight-inch lines have accumulated iron deposits, causing diminished water flow.
Selais said residential water pressure is generally very good and were measured at 35 to 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). “You’re at a perfect range,” she said.
She said there were a few areas that did not meet the residential water pressure criteria and noted those homes were served by either four or six-inch lines.
In the areas where there are smaller lines, Selais said, the flow rates for fire hydrants were not considered adequate.
Engineer Eddie Zmich said the $7.8 million estimate for improvements is all-inclusive and is based on similar costs to other municipalities.
By Dan Shriner