Improvements to Water Distribution System Online
For many years the City of Niles has experienced problems with
discoloration of water and other deficiencies. City water has
always received good water quality reports, it was never a problem
of good, safe water. . . because that’s what we have. But for
some of our customers the issue was how the water looked and/or how
much water pressure they actually received in their homes.
Yes. . . . We Heard You
Back in the fall of 2002, the Utilities Department contracted
with the firm of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr, and Huber (FTCH) out of
Grand Rapids, Michigan to conduct a Water System Master Plan study
in hopes of alleviating some of the problems. The study
assessed the condition and capability of the City's water system
components, including the groundwater supply wells, storage tanks,
and distribution piping system. The study also included a
reliability section that provided additional modeling information to
assess future flows and evaluate water quality.
So, What’s the Problem?
The final recommendations from the study were numerous and very
expensive. Problems identified included inadequate water
pressure in certain areas, in some areas there was less than
desirable fire flow (amount of water that can be pumped quickly by
fire department personnel), and perceived water quality problems
primarily involing "iron", which sometimes discolored the water.
In an attempt to prioritize the recommendations given to solve
our problems, a cost-of-service and rate design study was completed
in early 2003. The purpose of this study was to determine the
revenue requirements for each capital improvement needed and its
impact on the customer rate structure. From this rate study,
capital improvement projects were selected that were within the
financial capability of the City's rate tariff system. Those
recommended improvements are shown in bold print below:
Establish a new intermediate pressure district on the far
east edge of the system where low pressures were experienced most
Construct a new water tower in the Bertrand Crossing
Industrial Park to eliminate pressure fluctuations and increase
fire flow ($800,000). Actually, two new water towers
(shown this page); one on Carberry Rd. and one at Bertrand
Crossing are now in operation.
Construct an iron filtration plant to treat water from the
City's highest producing wells - Airport & Parker wells
The total cost of these improvements including design
engineering was $5,800,000 and was funded by issuance of a general
obligation bond. Construction started in late summer of 2004
and all system improvements will be completed this fall. Both
water towers went operational in late September and the water
filtration plant is scheduled to be fully online by October’s end.
City-wide flushings will then take place to get the new systems off
to a good start. Customers should begin to see improvements in
water pressure and begin seeing colorless water soon thereafter.
Credit should be given to the general contractor (FTCH) as these
multi-million dollar capital improvement projects were completed
within 0.5% of the bid amount! The completion of these projects
should help improve the quality & reliability of service to our
low water pressure and to also create more fire flow the new
Carberry water tower was erected and a new booster station
(left) located on Lake St. was constructed. This somewhat
unobtrusive building houses the massive booster pump system
shown at right.
filtration plant (left) constructed near the Street
Department Garage on Eagle Street has the primary function
of removing “iron” from the water to help eliminate
discoloration. Shown at right is the huge filtration pump
at this new water treatment plant.
Payment Plan for Utilities
Customers who pay their utility bill on time and have lived in
the same home for more than a year could qualify for our Budget
With the Budget Payment Plan, we estimate your next 12 months usage
cost based on your past 12 months usage. We average the bill
and you pay that amount each month by the due date. Your
monthly bill will indicate the budget payment amount as well as
your actual usage and its cost.
Some months customers may pay less than they are charged and other
months they may pay more, but we'll monitor the Budget Pay accounts
monthly to make sure customers do not budget too far behind
(underpayment) or too far ahead (overpayment) in their payments.
If they do, a new monthly payment amount will be established, and
the customer will be notified.
To be put on the Budget Payment Plan, simply contact the
Utility Billing Staff to
calculate your monthly payment. Again, the account must be
current and have one year of usage. In order to remain on the
budget billing, your budgeted payment amount must be received by the
The Utilities Department reserves the right to remove an account
from the Budget Payment Plan if a payment is missed. In
addition to our Budget Payment Plan, Niles Utilities offers two
other payment options:
1. Our Direct Payment Plan allows you to automatically pay your
monthly bill directly from your bank account. Combined with
the Budget Payment Plan, your monthly payment will be predictable.
2. You can always use your Visa, Master Card or Debit card.
To sign up or if you have questions, please call 683-4700 or email
Head Billing Clerk Sherri
Drive-up Payment Drop Box
City of Niles has installed a new drive-up payment drop box for
utility and tax payments by check. It is located at the end of
the driveway behind the Utilities Building. The new drop box
should be a welcome convenience, especially for mothers with young
children and our senior citizens. As with the current walk-up
payment drop box that will be left in place, only payments by check
should be deposited into the box and only taxes paid in full will be
accepted. Partial tax payments can only be accepted inside the
office by the Deputy Treasurer.