Customers concerned about possible water treatment plant - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Customers concerned about possible water treatment plant

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(11/15/12) - Bay City commissioners met in closed session Wednesday to talk about a proposed new water plant.

The estimated cost - nearly $60 million.

Thursday, the city sat down with representatives of Bay County, a potential partner in the project.

ABC12 finds out more on what this could mean for customers.

Bay City's water contract with Bay County expires in 2015.

City manager Robert Belleman supports building a new water plant, but not everybody is happy with the price tag.

"If they're going to build something else that could probably raise the prices of our water, that's ridiculous. They're killing us," said Mark Curran, who lives in Bay City.

Curran, who just moved to Bay City, doesn't support the proposed new plant. City leaders say the current one is aging. It's been in service for more than 30 years.

"We should have a say in this. It's our tax money that's paying for everything," Curran said.

City commissioners have been talking this week about who would own and operate the new plant. They're also discussing the costs.

Bay City pulls its water from the inner Saginaw Bay.

Sometimes, that leads to customers complaints about the smell and the taste.

"That requires us to make about $36 million worth of improvements to meet future environmental protection agency requirements so we have to make either with the existing plant or investments with this new plant," Belleman said.

Belleman says rates will increase. He believes future rates won't be as high if the city maintains a joint system.

"Something needs to be done about Bay City water and something needs to be done to lower the prices of the water, not raise it," Curran said.

City leaders are thinking about building the new plant in front of the current one on Euclid Road.

The group would purchase raw water from the Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water corporation, then process it at the new facility.

The city has been awarded project funding from the state for $12 million, under the drinking water revolving loan program, to build a new plant.

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