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Ishpeming Township Board OKs plant demolition

Jim Nankervis, supervisor, Ishpeming Township

ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming Township Board is moving forward with plans to demolish a building that housed its former wastewater treatment plant near Deer Lake.

The board on Oct. 8 unanimously approved a motion to allow township Supervisor James Nankervis to accept a bid from Oberstar to demolish the 20-foot-diameter building, which could cost between roughly $4,350 and $18,000.

Nankervis said some of the variation in the bids from three contractors was the result of transporting demolition debris to the Marquette County Landfill.

“I would guess that hauling that to the landfill at 200 tons at $56 or $58 a ton would be about $10,000, but I don’t see any reason why if the concrete foundation, the concrete basement got left in the ground, why we couldn’t just smash it up and throw it in the ground and leave it there,” Nankervis told the board.

The building was used to process wastewater until the 1980s when the township entered into an inter-local agreement with the city of Ishpeming and began using the Ishpeming Area Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility. Nankervis said the building is “obsolete and falling into disrepair.”

He said there is a lift station and a generator in use on the property, independent of the structure.

Township Treasurer Kristin Thornton expressed concerns about possible environmental impacts of demolishing the structure. Deer Lake was listed as an area of concern due in part to mercury-containing wastewater sent from the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. laboratory in Ishpeming for processing from the 1920s to the early 1980s. The former wastewater treatment plant dumped into Carp Creek, which emptied into Deer Lake, according to documents from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The area was delisted as an area of concern in 2014.

Thornton said she wants to make sure demolition is done properly.

“I am all for demolishing the building, leaving the materials in place and (adding) fill, but it’s a high price tag,” she said. “You still want to do it environmentally correct, but what’s the better option?”

Nankervis said lead testing on the structure has been done.

“The only other thing is tar paper on the roof,” Nankervis said. “Most tar paper has asbestos in it, but the tar paper on the roof, it goes to the landfill.”

The funding for the project will be split, 50% from the township general fund and 50% from the township sewer fund.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.