October 31, 2014

Omer looks to stimulus for sewage system

By John Fischer|Staff Writer
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OMER —The 330 residences in the City of Omer currently use septic tanks for waste disposal but if the city is successful in its attempt to secure a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), they could be spared the aggravating overflows, backups and routine pumpings involved with septic tanks.

According to Omer City Mayor Alice Sproule, with all of the stimulus money that was made available through the ARRA — about $780 billion — Michigan’s smallest city is looking to get a slice of the pie in the form of a sewer collection system and treatment facility.

“It’s something we need in the future,” Sproule said. “We’re looking for help with the stimulus package.”

According to WadeTrim Engineer Tiffany Harrison, WadeTrim has submitted, on behalf of Omer, a pre-application for a USDA rural development grant.

“A pre-application is to see how much money is available for this type of project,” Harrison said. “It doesn’t [oblige] Omer to accept the grant if they don’t receive a satisfactory response.”

Sproule says if the city is eligible to receive funding, a town meeting will be scheduled to gauge citizens’ responses and provide information.

“We won’t pursue the project if we can’t get a grant,” she said. “It’s too expensive for our residents right now.”

She added pre-studies work performed would be saved for future reference if the project doesn’t receive grant funding.

Residents currently living in Omer are connected to the Saginaw-Midland Water system, however, that system only provides them with water, Sproule says. She also says the sewer system the city hopes to install would provide additional environmental benefits as well.

“It’ll make our region on the Rifle River a cleaner environment,” she said.

Sproule says she is excited and hopes to receive a sizeable amount to help with the project.

“We’re (city) hopeful that since we’re on the Rifle River, they’ll (USDA) see that as a reason to help us out,” she said.

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