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Renovation to begin on water tower

By Judy Reed

It’s been a long time coming, but Cedar Springs residents will soon see work begin on the city’s water tower on Pine Street—maybe as early as August 1. The 300,000-gallon water storage tank, which was built in 1971, will undergo a complete renovation and repainting, inside and out.

According to the city’s Department of Public Works Director Roger Belknap, the whole project could take 6-8 weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions. Rain and wind greater than 15 mph will delay the work.

City water users should note that with the water tower offline, the only storage available to meet water demand is the water in the mains and service lines, until more is pumped from the city’s wells. The city is asking residents to keep water use to a minimum during this time, and to forego watering lawns and garden irrigation. The city will not have the capacity to use hydrants for firefighting during this time, but several nearby fire departments will have tankers available if needed.

Residents may also see hydrants releasing water from time to time to relieve pressure in the system. Hoses will be attached to the hydrants to prevent erosion and ponding of water.

While the tank has been repainted and/or maintenanced over the years, this is the first complete renovation. The company doing the work will come out each year and inspect the tank and complete any repairs needed. In 11 years, another complete renovation will be done. The whole project, paid over a 10-year period, will cost $440,848. That is a savings of $127,386 over the traditional method where work is done only three times in a 10-year period.

City residents recently saw their first increase in their water and sewer bills since 2007. Water went from $2.65 to $3.65 per thousand gallons and sewer went from $3.01 to $4.01 per thousand gallons. According to city officials, the average family of four uses about 2,000 gallons per person, per month, and will see an increase of about $16.00 per month. This increase will help fund future water and sewer improvements and maintenance.

When the tower is back up and running, those wishing to water their lawns or fill their pools may want to consider installing a special sprinkling meter from the city that costs about $260. You will also need to have a plumber install a backflow device, and it will need to be inspected every three years. While the sprinkling meter has an upfront cost, it will save residents money in the long run because they will only pay a flat water rate with no sewer cost.

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