City approves contract for service line inventory project

THREE RIVERS — A project to identify where lead water service lines are in Three Rivers took another step forward at Tuesday’s Three Rivers City Commission meeting.

Commissioners approved a $264,901 contract with White Cloud, Mich.-based B&B Environmental Services, LLC to perform hydro excavating as part of a Distribution Systems Materials Inventory project to determine water service line materials in the city. The service will be paid for using the $274,000 Drinking Water Asset Management grant the city received from the State of Michigan back in August.

Hydro excavating, according to Department of Public Services Director Amy Roth, involves using a high-pressure water hose and suction tube. The water from the hose, she said, will loosen up dirt so the contractors can vacuum it using the suction tube, which then creates a hole. The process is also known as “utility potholing,” and will be used to determine service line material types on the house and street sides of existing curb stops for a random sampling of water service lines throughout the city.

Roth previously said two holes would be made on either side of the valve to help identify the pipe material. According to the bid specifications, the contractor will be required to backfill any trenches or holes made on any given day.

In addition to the work on the curb stops, the project also involves the contractor determining water service material types inside the home, and requires the contractor coordinate with the homeowner to enter the home to do so.

The locations where this work will occur were selected via a random sampling done via Microsoft Excel of addresses which have unknown service line materials in city records, according to Roth. Of the 322 home and business addresses listed in the bid specifications of the work to be done, 119 (37.3 percent) of them are in the third district, 72 (21.6 percent) are in the second district, 68 (21.3 percent) are in the fourth district, and 63 (19.7 percent) are in the first district. The addresses include Three Rivers Middle School, Immaculate Conception Catholic School and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

B&B was the second-lowest bidder out of six companies who bid. However, the city determined during bid interviews that the lowest bidder’s references “did not have previous work on hydro excavation projects,” opting to go with the second-lowest bidder.

The project is expected to be completed by June 30, with all field work expected to be done by June 10.

To view a PDF file of the addresses that will be a part of the inventory project, click the file at the bottom of this page.

In other business…

  • The city approved a $69,000 purchase order to Fleis & Vandenbrink for design engineering on a road improvement project for River Drive. According to background information of the project, the scope of the project changed since initial budgeting, going from two paved cul-de-sacs and one dirt cul-de-sac on the road to a full roadway replacement instead of three cul-de-sacs.
  • The city commission held two show cause hearings for properties at 317 S. Main St. and 108 River Dr. The hearing for the South Main property related to an accessory building being on a property without a dwelling in place, while the River Drive hearing related to demolition of a house damaged by fire in 2020. Following discussions with property owners and interested parties at both hearings, the city gave both property owners 30 days to remove the structures in their respective hearings.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or

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