Buchanan, Dowagiac reach mutual aid agreement for water, sewer operator plan

Published 10:48 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dowagiac reached a mutual aid agreement with Buchanan in Berrien County that will be signed by city managers Kevin Anderson and William Marx.

The memo of understanding concerns a licensed water and sewer operator backup plan under terms and conditions outlined.

“The City of Dowagiac desires to enhance the number of licensed employees available for backup for our water and sewer system,” states Resolution 5, “and it has become apparent that the City of Buchanan (has) a mutual desire to share resources.”

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), under provisions of Act 399 Rule 1905, requires that a properly-certified S-2 operator be in charge of the city’s water distribution system maintenance.

This qualified person is designated as the OIC, or operator in charge, and a back-up operator in charge shall also be designated.

Names and certification information for these individuals are kept on file at the DEQ.

“Our designated S-2 licensed OIC has been on extended medical leave since mid-2010. We also have two designated back-up OICs — one with an S-3 who is currently preparing to test for an S-2 license this fall, and another with an S-4. In recent months, we have called on Niles to assist us with S-2 oversight issues during this interim. However, the DEQ has recently issued clarification of their rules and requested that we designate an S-2 licensed individual to oversee daily operations of our system,” Director of Public Services and City Engineer Christopher J. Bolt wrote to Anderson in a Jan. 21 memo.

“We have been in the process of reaching out to several neighboring communities to explore the prospect of sharing a variety of services. This seemed to be yet another opportunity to do so — particularly since we are in a temporary, interim situation.”

Buchanan has two S-2 licensed individuals on its staff.

“We also discussed the fact that they may actually need our assistance in the near future,” Bolt advised. “Their Class B licensed wastewater plant operator is retiring, and his successor is still in the process of gaining the required experience to sit for his Class B exam (which may occur a few months after the retirement).”

Dowagiac has two qualified Class B operators who could offer oversight assistance to the Redbud City.

This MOU will be forwarded to DEQ with a cover letter explaining the shared arrangement for satisfying licensure requirements during interim periods of need for either community.