THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Only One Water Main Freeze-Up This Winter
The recently completed winter was a relatively good one for Peshtigo in terms of water main freeze-ups, Public Works Director George Cowell reported to the city's Water and Sewer Committee on Tuesday March 21. Cowell said there was one frozen water main and one service break on water so far this year. However, he cautioned that sometimes strange things happen during spring thaw, which is currently in progress.
The department has been working aggressively on meter inspections and replacements, as well as cross connection inspections, and whenever possible they do both together, Cowell said.
"We're close to the DNR catchup timeline but we're not there yet," he added.
He said last week there was an issue with brown water in some parts of the city, and they continue to seek the cause.
Plans for this summer include replacing water main for just over two blocks on Emery Ave. between Thompson and McGraw, where the road is slated for resurfacing. Other parts of Emery were done previously, but this segment is in bad condition, Cowell said. The project was originally on the 5-year plan for 2018, but some projects were changed due to uncertainty over possible plans to remodel or replace the middle school/high school building,
On the wastewater treatment side of the utility, they are keeping a close eye on the river crossing sewer line to be sure it is not backing up during the spring thaw.
It has been six years since the water towers were painted, and five years since the follow-up guarantee inspection, so Cowell is seeking quotes for the mandatory 5-year inspection. He said his crews do inspections themselves on several items every year and submit photo reports to the DNR. They should not need to do a complete draw-down inspection this year, but he will get prices on that, plus a diving or robotics inspection.
Work will be getting underway soon on the sludge thickener project at the wastewater treatment plant, and Cowell told the committee the work would be discussed at a pre-construction meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Cowell said his department is working on getting photo IDs for all personnel.
Cowell said for now at least all USDA grant programs are on hold, hopefully only until work on the new federal budget is complete. He said most small communities depend on the grants to finance utility improvements. Meanwhile, there may still be some grant dollars available from the state.
Committee member Dan Seymour asked if there is work to be done in regard to problems reveled through the smoke testing done in Peshtigo last summer, and Cowell said there is some.