Niles, Michigan...the City of four flags!

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Past Updates

Improvements to Water Distribution System Online

Water TowerIn the Beginning
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 ($1,500,000).

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 ($3,100,000).

Water TowerProblem Solved
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 water customers.    

To alleviate 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.
The iron 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. 

Back To TopBudget 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 Payment Plan

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 due date.

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 Jordan.

Back To TopNew Drive-up Payment Drop Box

Drive-up Payment Drop BoxThe 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.