Watervliet completes SAW grant plan

WATERVLIET — Watervliet's map of its underground infrastructure has about 40 more pipes on it than it did two and a half years ago. 

That's what Alan Smaka, with engineering firm Wightman, presented to the Watervliet City Commission on Tuesday night during a final presentation about the city's Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) grant. 

The grant period is now over, but its goal was to create an asset management plan to be used for many years. 

"If we create a plan that you couldn't utilize dynamically, then it's useless," Smaka said. "This gives you a tool you didn't have before to make better decisions."

Smaka said the 120-page plan maps out what the city has in its stormwater and wastewater systems and how it will need to be improved.

City Manager Tyler Dotson said that along with the more complete maps of all the pipes and underground infrastructure, city employees have access to an application on their phones and online where they can see and interact with the maps. 

"We have a complete map out of storm water, water and sanitary lines, so in the field we know where stuff is," he said. "It's accurate within a foot and it has a support system and backlog of data to keep track of all the work on the different lines."

Smaka said the grant funded 90 percent of the costs of the $760,000 mapping and planning project.

In other business, the City Commission approved spending up to $25,000 to fix erosion and drainage problems along High View Drive. The Morlock property on the street has been dealing with the problems for some time and the commissioners agreed to fix the problems as soon as possible. 

Commissioners approved sending $500 a year to the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission for the implementation and upkeep of the Paw Paw River Water Trail. 

The City Commission voted to go ahead with selling a water filtration system it had bought from Southwestern Michigan College in 2013 for $30,000 and never ended up using. The system is still at the college and needs to be sold or moved in the near future, Dotson said. The City Commission will formally approve the sale if a buyer is found. 

The City Commission approved adding holiday lights to all 19 trees in downtown Watervliet. Other holiday decorations are in the works with the Downtown Development Authority.  

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman