WHITEHALL TWP. – Township officials are hoping a sanitary sewer extension on Durham Road will be operational by winter.

The township will have a bid opening for the proposed extension on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2 p.m., at the Whitehall Township Hall.

Project engineers Prein and Newhof will be overseeing the bid opening and will review the results for the township board which will select the winning bidder.

The extension will start near the intersection of Alice St. and Whitehall Rd. and will run south on Duram Rd. by Crystal Lake Rd. and to the Whitehall Township Hall property.

The urgency of installing the sanitary sewer main is to provide service to the 103 lots and office of the Crystal Downs Mobile Home Park which has had a failed sewer system over the past few years and is under Michigan DEQ orders to make corrections. The mobile home park’s sewer drain field has been flooded, and park owners are now having the septic tank system regularly pumped out so sewage is not reaching the drain field.

The project is expected to cost over $500,000, and the township and the mobile home park is expected to have a signed agreement in which the park will pay for $264,140.25. Also paying for the construction will be approximately eight homeowners along the extension who will each play $5,280 hookup fee, plus will pay a contractor to connect to the sewer main. The remaining cost of the sewer extension will come from the township’s sewer fund.

Homeowner Rod VanNortwick was at the August 26 township board meeting asking for a financial break for the homeowners.

He said, partly because of the depth of the sewer main, homeowners will be paying about $5,000 to connect which will total about $10,000.

VanNortwick said Crystal Downs gets an unfair discount for sewer hookups.

“It doesn’t make sense they get a discount when it isn’t our fault. This was mismanagement by the trailer park,” VanNortwick said.

Gordon Lydens said Crystal Downs is being charged according to the Jan. 22, 2007 township sewer contract. Mobile home parks pay in indirect fee for hookups.

Lydens said Crystal Downs will also be paying $7,608 per quarter for sewage treatment.

Lydens said the township hopes the new sewer main which will also open up the township for more development, will go under Durham Road pavement on the route. It is unlikely the pavement will be replaced before winter, so a gravel surface will be provided until next year.

By township ordinance and state law, homeowners whose dwelling is within 200 feet of the sewer main must connect within six months.

However, in July the township board voted to extend the amount of the time those residents had to connect to the sewer. Upon a motion by Township Clerk Sarah Sylvester, residents will have up to five years to connect unless they sell their home at which time the new owner will have to connect. The residents will also have 10 years to finance the connection fee at a five percent interest. The motion passed 4-1 with Trustee Dennis Kroll the lone no vote. Supporting the motion were Sylvester, Township Supervisor Charles Schmitigal, Township Trustee June Lydens and Trustee Kelley Stinebower.

While making the motion, Sylvester said she doesn’t like requiring the homeowners to connect within five years.