$5 million project on time

Anticipated energy efficiency from a $5 million sewer project may have an added benefit for Spring Lake Township residents.
Marie Havenga
Aug 9, 2012

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said the energy savings could stabilize sewer rates.

The Township Board's most recent sewer increase of $24 per year for residential customers went into effect in April.

Gallagher estimates the township will save about 30 percent in electrical use by switching to variable speed pumps in all of its lift stations.

“They turn on and off gradually, and will be much more efficient,” he explained. “We believe this will assist us in holding down rates and lessen future increases.”

Gallagher said the $5 million infrastructure overhaul is ahead of schedule and about $300,000 under budget. Originally scheduled to be completed in March 2013, Gallagher said this week he expects final touches by the end of this year.

“We're moving right along,” he said. “We have not had any major complications.”

The project is being funded by a $1.2 million federal grant, a $2.6 million low-interest loan from the state, an $800,000 bond and $400,000 in sewer funds.

A total of 34 lift stations that were about 30 years old and “beyond their useful life,” according to Gallagher, are being fitted with new pumps and fittings.

“We have had two situations this summer where we had major pump failure,” Gallagher said. “We didn't realize how close to the end of useful life we were in a couple of places.”

Several stations will also be outfitted with new generators to help prevent backups in the event of power outages.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




Tri-cities realist

Did anyone else wonder how many taxpayer dollars could have been saved by NOT sending the tax money to the fed govt, whose bureaucracy likely squandered a large portion of it, before sending it back to the state, and finally to SLT? Well Vlad probably did. So the $1.2M federal grant, likely cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5M. Why not just keep the money local? Hey there's a novel idea. And yes I realize that taxpayers throughout the country subsidized this grant. But what comes around, goes around. How many of our tax dollars have been used to subsidize similar (as well as other more dubious... think bridge to nowhere) projects around the country? I don't recall reading any section of the US Constitution that authorizes the fed govt to meddle with local sanitary sewer systems. If anyone can find that section, PLEASE let me know, thank you.
And while this may save 30% on electrical costs, it would be nice to know what portion of the total cost of operating the sewer system is comprised of electrical costs. If electrical costs comprise 10% of the total operating cost (my guess, I really have no idea, but 10% may be way high) then a savings of 3% (30% of 10%) would seem quite paltry compared to the investment. But I also understand if the equipment is at its end of life, it needs to be replaced regardless. I just wish the actual savings to the residents of SLT would be published, rather than a percentage of a percentage of the total operating cost. Perhaps I need to volunteer to be an investigative reporter for the GH Tribune. What do you think Mr. Publisher?


Those individuals that are pushing for the dissolving of the Village of Spring Lake should consider if they wish to pay for projects such as these, and dreams that only benefit those who live outside the Village of Spring Lake. I love West Michigan and Spring Lake and I say if its not broken (Village) please do not try and fix it.
God Bless the Constitution.

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