Since 1972, a 26-lot trailer park near Adrian has had five owners, four operators, at least 17 violation notices and numerous boil-water advisories for its faulty private community water system.
Private community water systems like this one can take more of EGLE's time to inspect than a 3,000-person, city-owned water system. That’s because private systems are often built with substandard components that are past their expected useful life. Many times, owners are unwilling or unable to comply with the requirements to maintain a water system.
The problems at Raisin Valley Estates prompted the new owner in December 2017 to ask EGLE for guidance on how to get a treatment system approved. But six months later, EGLE sent him a violation notice for his failure to obtain a permit before installing treatment. With more coliform positive results, the owner obtained a permit for continuous chlorination. With all these treatment changes, the system came under the scrutiny of an EGLE corrosion control engineer. A few months later, the owner was told he had the blend wrong.
Then, the city of Adrian built a water main to serve another customer, and it passed right by this manufacturing housing community. EGLE staff asked the owner if he would consider connecting to it, and he developed plans to do that.
Consolidating water systems required the approval of both the Raisin Township and Adrian City Council, as well as a construction permit from EGLE, which was granted in October last year. Soon thereafter, the owner met all EGLE requirements and successfully consolidated with Adrian's water system.
For Raisin Valley Estates, the owner and his wife have this to say, looking back at their experience: "It's been great — especially with COVID, and all of our tenants being at home. We don't have to worry what the effect will be from flushing and other interruptions of service. We don't have all the worry about providing good water to 26 homes. Our life is easier, and the families have better water, without rust," they said.
Two types of water systems particularly can benefit from consolidating: small privately-owned systems that can connect to a municipal system, and municipal systems that can consolidate with other municipalities.
EGLE is looking for opportunities to assist other water systems consolidate and is keeping track of likely candidates along with obstacles they may be facing.
For information on community water system consolidation, contact Brian Thurston, EGLE at email@example.com.