By Dean Vaglia
Laeder Staff Writer
The Village of Oxford will upgrade its water infrastructure this spring, focusing on water mains under Hudson and Denison streets.
The work is due to 2018 changes to the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act mandating communities replace their lead-based water service lines by 2041 with water suppliers required to change at least 5% of their lead service pipes per year.
Replacing pipes and the associated road work is expected to take four to five weeks with a tentative start date by the end of June. The old pipes will be replaced with ductile iron mains, copper connections and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) service lines. While work will reduce street access, residents can expect their water service only being interrupted for about an hour as pipes are replaced. The new main will be tested before going into service and the old main will not be turned off until the new main is approved. The project is estimated to cost $791,169.30.
Along with the Hudson and Denison project, the village is repaving Park St. west of Jersey St.
Older water mains in Oxford still have service pipe connections with some percentage of lead in them, and upgrading those mains means changing out the main, service pipes and connections to lead-free materials.
“When we do our water main line projects, it will be the main, the service leads out to the stop, and then the service leads into the house,” Village Manager Joe Madore said.
Most of the work involved will be covered by the water fund, though it does not cover repaving parts of the road not above mains. Road funding is limited as well, as most of the $100,000 for non-major streets is spent on snow removal. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds have been allocated to the project and the village sent an application to be one of Elissa Slotkin’s Community Project Funding recipients to help cushion the road fund.
While the state wants pipes replaced within 20 years, Madore wants to do so in 15 years to save money.
“Every year it goes, piping goes up,” Madore said. “Every year you go, labor goes up … If we are paying $4,300 for water service leads now, what is it going to be in 12 years? I cannot imagine it being the same.”
The village so far has mostly replaced service leads, and about 5% of offending pipes and mains have been replaced so far. Some streets just require changing service leads, while other streets like Davison St. will require main replacements.