Saline Makes Further Infrastructure Investments


Saline is moving right along in its efforts to update and upgrade its infrastructure. The city is taking steps to improve its ability to combat high rainfall events through the purchases of two systems as intense storms become more intense and more frequent due to climate change. One way they are doing this is through the purchase of Sensaphone Monitoring Units.

These are water monitoring systems that alert city staff if any part of Saline’s infrastructure is in danger of being overwhelmed by an excessive amount of water, so staff can respond. This $90,000 system either replaces systems like at the wastewater treatment plant, or be installed for the first time at other parts of infrastructure, like the Mill Pond dam.

“The Wastewater Treatment Plant was migrated to the cloud Sensaphone platform in January 2021 and it has worked well since installation. Alerts are consistent and staff can remotely monitor and manage their alerts through their choice of responses. Additionally, the station near Breconshire Drive has been moved over and is also functioning as expected,” Chris Shonk, the environmental Commission Recording Secretary, wrote in a memo to Council. “I recommend, given their critical nature, these upgrades be made to help ensure reliable operation of City water assets.”

According to Director of Public Works Larry Sirls, it would cost between $95,078 to $101,907 to subcontract this task out to one of two specialist companies. By purchasing this system outright, the city is trying to save its taxpayers from continuing to regularly pay these high fees.

“The sewer camera is an essential piece of equipment that provides the DPW with the ability to inspect the interior condition of the City’s sewer and storm pipes. The purchase of a new pipeline camera will allow for much higher and cost effective level [of] service to our residents,” Sirls said in a memo. “The new sewer camera will also help crews identify specific pipe issues without costly excavations.”

This is essentially a camera box on wheels controlled by a long cable, which will allow the city to inspect the pipeline itself without having to subcontract the task. According to City Manager Colleen O’Toole, it all fits in one trailer.

“Right now we have to hire out a third party contractor so we can get an assessment of conditions. Most communities are moving a model where they have … cameras as a part of their regular equipment,” O’Toole said. “The goal of this system is we can set up an annual monitoring goal; a certain amount of the community, every year, that we are going to camera and do a physical assessment inspection of.”

The actual schedule of what sections of Saline’s sewers will be inspected when and what order has yet to be determined. But O’Toole predicted that the whole system would be visual expected, on a rolling basis, every five to seven years, to find small problems and fix them before they become large ones.

The city is also going forward with a sidewalk along Michigan Avenue from Saline River Drive to Austin Drive. The project, designed with the assistance of Midwestern Consluting, will be implemented with a $36,600 budget.

Image Credit: Midwestern Consulting

“The sidewalk will extend westward from the Saline River Bridge, connecting to existing sidewalk at 900 West Michigan Avenue,” City Engineer Jeff Fordice said in a memo. “A branch of the sidewalk will be constructed along Austin Drive, providing access to Saline River Drive and Washington Street, then connecting to existing sidewalk on the north side … at 910 Austin Drive via a crosswalk.”

Image Credit: Midwestern Consulting
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