Heading through downtown Ishpeming, you may have noticed streets torn up and under construction. Construction to replace the water valves throughout downtown Ishpeming began last July. About 10% of the project was completed last year, the bulk is expected to happen this summer. Lindberg & Sons crews began work in early May and will be busy until mid-October trying to complete the project replacing mains that are decades old.
“We were having 30 water main breaks a year due to the failure of the old system and that causes water quality issues as well as disruption of people’s water service, and also the possibility of contamination,” said Ishpeming city manager Mark Slown.
The $12 million project is being paid for with a USDA grant and a SAW grant, as well as a $9 million USDA loan. The city focused in on the real problem areas during planning so that funds aren’t being wasted.
“The purpose of this project is to provide safe and reliable drinking water to people,” said Slown. “That’s really all that matters at the end of the day, except we try to do it as cost effective as possible.”
During the course of the project however, water quality may not always be at its best. When crews saw into pipes, sediment can be displaced and find its way into your tap water. The solution to the dirty water though, can be quite simple.
“What we recommend people do is if they’re seeing sediment in their water or discoloration in their water, let it run until it runs clear, flushing out any sediment that might have gotten stirred up,” said Slown.
In addition to water quality issues, many are finding trouble parking; whether it is at local business, or even their own homes. The city did make traffic plans, hoping to minimize the impact.
“We appreciate their patience and understand that’s a painful thing, but it’s necessary, and we’re trying to minimize it as much as possible,” said Slown.