By GRAHAM JAEHNIG
EAGLE HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The Keweenaw County Council at its July regular meeting unanimously approved a motion by Randy Eckloff to submit an intent to apply form to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Clean Water, and State Drinking Water Revolving/Strategic Fund. Water Quality Initiatives Fund for the Mount Horace Greeley Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a low-interest loan financing program that helps qualified local municipalities build needed water pollution control facilities.
According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) website, a community interested in applying for a loan must complete the Intent to Apply Form and submit it to EGLE-WIFS. Submitting the form will allow the applicant to receive an indication of funding/funding prospects as well as next steps in the process.
“To better serve our customers and improve our programs”, EGLE warns, “Please do not start working on a project plan until you have submitted the ITA form. After the ITA is submitted, a project manager from the Water Infrastructure Finance Section (WIFS) will follow up with the community to arrange a discussion. »
Interest rate for the 2022 financial year:
– Loans over 20 years – 1.875%
– Loans over 30 years – 2.125%
“You may have seen an email from Chuck (Miller, Keweenaw County attorney)”, Commission Vice President Del Rajala said. “And that makes sense. If that money is available, why wouldn’t we allow that to happen? I think the discussion we’ve had before is either we save those lagoons and start relying on them and identifying them as necessary infrastructure for the county or we plan to pull out of that so that clearly shows the intention that we want to move forward.”
Commissioner Randy Eckloff moved a motion to submit an intent to apply.
At the regular June meeting, the board learned that the 10-inch valves needed for system repairs weren’t available at that time, and they don’t know when they will be, which Zach Garner had said. to the board at the regular April meeting. he feared.
Garner, of Open Skies, the group that bought the former Calumet radar base on the county’s Mount Horace Greeley, addressed the board at the regular April meeting and informed it of the poor condition in which the sewage lagoons are located.
Garner suggested the board start working on replacing the valves as there may be availability issues.
Seven valves need to be replaced, which would cost around $45,000.
Garner said at the time that several of the valves between lagoons one and two had failed and needed to be replaced very soon. He said he had investigated the likely costs of replacing faulty valves as a first step in bringing the lagoons back into compliance.
He went on to say that there will be a state inspection in the spring and he was sure the lagoons would be non-compliant. In the fall of 2023, the county will need to reapply for the lagoon permit and these three issues will need to be taken care of.
Sluice gates are one of three problems, Garner said, the other two being cattail overgrowth and fencing.
At the July meeting, Commissioner Bob Demarois seconded Eckloff’s motion, saying he didn’t see where the county had a choice.
“This is one of our last obstacles” he said, “and we should go ahead with the grant application.”