Marquette County sends application for water line assistance to Governor Snyder’s office

The Marquette County Board of Commissioners heard an update on the county’s request for emergency assistance to help with frozen water lines.

The county applied for a declaration to Governor Rick Snyder’s office Tuesday that would provide state assistance with unfreezing water main lines in areas across the county–including Marquette, Ishpeming, and Negaunee.

The board declared a local State of Emergency February 21.

Frozen water lines have cost the county about $300,000 so far this winter.

“We’re not applying for any funds per se, we’re just trying to get a declaration so we can get state resources, like possibly using the Army Corps of Engineers to help, or the National Guard, and getting necessary equipment they (the Department of Public Works) need to get those pipes unfrozen,” Marquette County Emergency Management Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach said.

The assistance would only help public water lines; residents with water damage can only get assistance through their insurance companies.

Schwalbach said there is no timeline for when assistance would come to the county, but applying for assistance is a longer process than most people think.

“Once they (the state) review it, once they look at the information they may even request more information for us, and once they go through that and they say ‘yes we can support this’, then they will go ahead and write a letter and write all the support they need and provide that to the governor’s office for approval,” Schwalbach said.

Frost lines are about 90 inches deep, and this is the first time the county has applied for water line emergency assistance in 20 years.