The City of Albion may be able to replace a substantial portion of its sewer lines in the near future.

The Albion City Council elected to pay $50,000 in engineering work as part of an effort to secure a grant that would cover up to $500,000 of a project to replace a portion of the city’s sewer lines. The grant would only cover construction costs for the project, necessitating the $50,000 be paid directly by the city.

“Once you do that, we can apply for the grant,” said Marty Reid, Albion Water Supervisor, of covering the engineering costs associated with the project. “We have a good chance of getting it.

“Nothing is guaranteed.”

One member of the city government expressed immediate interest in the grant.

“So we could spend $50,000 and get up to $500,000,” said Albion Mayor Wesley Harris. “It sounds like the return on our investment would work out in our favor.”

Austin Ridgley, Vice President of Hampton, Lenzini and Renwick Engineering, was in attendance at the meeting to explain the details of the grant.

“A lot of municipalities take advantage of it,” he said. “They divvy out the money based on a scoring system based on documentation of health and safety hazards on your project and low income in the area.

“The videoing; you can’t get any better documentation than that.”

The city council had previously commissioned the firm Visu-Sewer to send a camera through sewer lines in the northeast portion of the city, a process known as “videoing.” That video will now serve as the documentation required to be considered for the grant, according to Ridgley.

The HLR representative also noted that the city would not need to adjust any of their rates to qualify for the grant. Other similar grants have required municipalities to increase their water and/or sewer rates in order to maintain the work done for their respective projects.

“One other holdup for a lot of other municipalities is that they look at your sewer rates if you’re doing a sewer project to make sure your rates are at the state minimum,” said Ridgley. “I think they’ve already talked to you guys about that and you hit that mark.”

For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.