Fed aid available in Adams Twp.

USDA Rural Development offering grants, loans for home improvements, including plumbing

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette Federal help is available to some Atlantic Mine residents advised to replace any plastic or galvanized steel water pipes with copper ones, like Adams Township is doing with water lines to the homes there this year.

BALTIC — In preparation for a water system update, Adams Township officials want low-income homeowners in Atlantic Mine to know help is available to ensure everything flows well.

In addition to loans for new and existing homes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development offers low-interest home-improvement grants and loans for any projects, including plumbing.

Applications are available in the township office in Baltic.

The need to evaluate the piping to individual homes arose at the June 5 meeting of the township board, when Bill Siler Contracting was selected as low-bidder for the total $1.9 million project that includes a $307,738 contract with U.P. Engineers & Architects.

Understanding many residents are low income, Adams Township Clerk Debbie Pindral stressed homeowners can replace the water pipes outside and/or inside their homes using the federal funds.

Siler will replace pipe as far as the shut-off valves at individual property lines in Atlantic Mine by Oct. 31. The water project may extend into Trimountain next year, and eventually to Painesdale.

“Copper lasts a lifetime,” she said, noting the red metal will replace plastic village water lines that didn’t stand the test of time.

Once the new lines are put in outside a home, inside plumbing could be compromised.

“Some of the older galvanized pipe can have obstructions inside the pipes which reduces water pressure in the home,” Pindral said.

“If the township can get enough qualified people interested, the people at Rural Development will travel here to meet with them and help with paperwork.”

Pindral will coordinate a date with interested residents and federal administrators, during which the feds would inform homeowners of their eligibility, including the terms of a loan.

“RD may be able to assist them in financing improvements to their home,” said Shelly Grenier. “Only those individuals 62 and older with no repayment ability are eligible for the grant.”

In addition to grants to the elderly, eligible households of one to four people will make $27,100 or less, while those with five to eight members can make up to $35,750, to qualify for the federal loans in Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. The home loans are available to households of similar income levels and above.

Interested homeowners can call Grenier at 906-428-1060, ext. 4, for more details about the federal programs.