In February 2018, the City of St. Joseph was invited to apply for a Pilot Drinking Water Grant Program by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).  The City applied for a grant in March 2018 and on April 30, 2018, a grant was approved in the amount of $272,000.  The scope of the grant, which is underway until May 2019, includes updating the distribution system material inventory as well as lead service line construction.

The focus of the distribution material inventory is to identify lead and galvanized water services.  To begin the effort, the City was divided into 16 areas approximately equal in size.  Six properties within each of the areas were then randomly selected to request entry to conduct a water service inspection.  Inspections were conducted at the first 3 properties to respond from each area during the summer of 2018.  Data collected included the water service material and diameter, meter size and age, and reader type.  City staff also took pictures of each service at the point-of-entry/foundation wall interface and shot GPS points of the curb stops or meter pits that were able to be located.  The service material at the point-of-entry were as follows: 18 galvanized iron, 29 copper and 1 plastic (cross-linked polyethylene, commonly referred to as PEX).   A heat map was created in GIS to illustrate the areas of the City where galvanized services were encountered at the point of entry into homes.

The lead service line construction portion of the grant is more accurately described as service line replacements of eligible water services.  Grant eligible portions of water service lines include pipe that is lead as well as galvanized pipe where any portion of the existing service is lead.  Existing copper and plastic service lines are not eligible for replacement under the grant.

The City identified the Wallace Avenue Reconstruction Project as the first priority for service line replacements because construction was already scheduled and service line replacement, from the new water main to the curb stop/water shutoff in the tree lawn, was included.  During the course of the construction project, it was determined that 8 of the 14 homes were eligible for full service line replacement (extending the work from curb stop to the meter inside the home).  All 8 homes provided the required right-of-entry; the replacements are complete.

The next highest priority for service line replacement listed in the grant application were eligible properties fronting on streets where the water main was replaced between 1999 and the present.  The reason these were priority locations was because no street work was needed to replace eligible water services from the curb stop into the home.  However, over the past several months, Public Works Water & Sewer Division has identified numerous eligible services in need of replacement due to leaks, stopped meters and the like.  These properties have been placed at the top of the replacement list.  The attached map provides the approximate location and status of the service replacements.

Questions or comments regarding the Pilot Drinking Water Grant Program should be directed to Public Works Director Tom MacDonald (telephone: 269-983-6341 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Preliminary Distribution System Material Inventory

Preliminary DSMI Map

Water Service Replacements



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