City Government > Department Pages > Public Works
Dave Ringle, Public Services Director - (989) 463-8339
Aaron Hale Public Services - (989) 463-9509
The City of Alma does not keep records of sewer laterals connected to the sewer main. We consider the lateral to be the property of the home owner. We can provide a rough idea where the main is, as it is typically in the center of the street. The main will be located on any Miss Dig calls as well.
The City is responsible only for the sewer main line. The sewer lateral belongs to the home owner and is 100% their responsibility to maintain and repair, even inches from the main line.
Nearly all obstructions occur within a service lead. Therefore, the City has enacted a "Sanitary Sewer Policy" whereby the home owner is encouraged to have a plumber check their sewer system first. The City can investigate and flush the main but if no problem is found, the home owner will be invoiced for the cost. If your plumber finds fault in the City's main, then the City will reimburse for reasonable and customary plumbing bills.
Download the Sanitary Sewer Policy from the Documents and Links tabs on this page.
If your sewer has to be dug up to be repaired, the City requires a permit to be obtained to dig within the right-of-way, which is the City owned property along the roadway. This permit will have rules with it and must be obtained two business days before any work is done. The cost will vary depending on the extent of the work involved. A contractor is required to obtain this permit. Most contractors in the area are familiar with our rules and fees.
Please call Dave Ringle, Public Service Director, at (989) 463-8346.
The Public Works Division is responsible for the maintenance of all City streets, maintenance and repairs for the sanitary and storm sewers, operation of the City Equipment and Motor Pool, maintenance of most City owned buildings and the surrounding grounds, all City parks and Riverside cemetery.
Public Works maintains eight major buildings, several minor structures such as park restrooms, playground equipment, picnic shelters, and the cemetery mausoleum and all buildings and structures at the Gratiot Community Airport. They also maintain over 38 acres at the cemetery, 10 parks composed of nearly 50 acres, and the grounds areas at the Municipal Building, Library, and the Public Works Garage.
City crews also maintain the street lights in the Central Business District, parking lot lights in the City owned parking lots and the street lighting located along Heather Lane and Warwick Drive from Wright to Charles Avenue. This Division is responsible for the placement and maintenance or replacement of traffic signs and control devices located along City streets and the Business Route 127. They also maintain the yard waste site, weekly collection of yard waste from April through October, the annual Hazardous Waste Program, and annual fall leaf collection services.
Crews of this Division also maintain the general condition of the Central Business District. Snow removal from City sidewalks within this district is performed by members of Public Works. Snow removal involves plowing 6.26 miles of sidewalk to complete the district.
The equipment and the people of this division form the most recognizable services provided to city residents, such as snowplowing in the winter months, to repairs on our streets and the flushing of sewer mains.
The City of Alma is a "walkable" community. With the Riverwalk, Fred Meijer Heartland Trail and the miles and miles of sidewalk throughout the City, residents and visitors can walk or ride just about anywhere. Often questions arise regarding who is responsible for sidewalks and how they are repaired. We hope this information can help answer those questions.
The adjoining property owner is responsible for maintaining sidewalks. Snow removal is property owner's responsibility.
The City has a systematic approach to repairing sidewalks. Each year the City repairs sidewalks in a section of the City. When the City targets an area for repair. The Engineering staff inspect all the sidewalks in the area. Damaged or uneven sections or marked for repair. The affected property owners receive a letter explaining the program and telling them which squares in front of their property must be replace or repaired. The city residents have an option to replace the walk segments themselves or they can ask the city for assistance and share costs 50/50 with the city. If the resident elects to repair the sidewalk themselves, the City will share in the cost.
For details of how this works, call Dave Ringle at 989-463-8346 or download the program form under "Sidewalks Information" in the "Documents and Links" tabs on this page.
Public Services Permit (for construction within City right of way) (PDF)
Fee Schedule, Public Services Permits (PDF)
Fee Schedule, Street Excavation Less Than 10 Years Old (PDF)
Driveway Approach, Removal, Repair or Construction Application (PDF)
Public Utilities Information Form (For New Service) (PDF)
Vegetation Work Authorization (Within City Right-of-Way) (PDF)
The Public Works Division is responsible for maintenance of streets and sewer utilities, including 53 miles of storm sewers and 1,645 catch basins located within the City Right-of-Ways.
Questions about sewers? Check the Frequently Asked Questions and the Documents and Links tabs shown on this page.
Concerns? Questions? Please phone Alma's Engineering Department at (989) 463-8346.
Construction has wrapped on the first phase of Storm Water Diversion Program which is a multi-phased, multi-year project. It is expected that the construction phase of the project which is concentrated within two geographical areas of Alma will occur over a period of three years.
The first phase of the project was to install storm interceptors within the street right-of-ways in areas where storm sewers do not presently exist within two specific focus areas of the City. The installation of the new storm interceptors will provide a point of connection for homes and buildings to dispose of storm water.
Originally the City of Alma, like nearly all communities, had a single sewer system installed which conducted waste, rain water and nearly anything else that would go down the pipe to the local river for disposal. Over time the sewer system evolved into two systems, one to transport clean water from rains and ground water (storm sewers) from basement areas directly to the river for disposal and a second system to transport sewage (sanitary sewer) to a treatment plant for processing. Many of the old connections remain and in some cases continue to send rain water or ground water to the sewage treatment plant. Also in many cases, the only available sewer to connect to was sanitary sewer. On normal days this does not present any specific problems to either the sewage system or to the treatment plant, but during heavy rain storms, unusually wet weather, or during large snow melts, flows at the treatment plant can exceed plant capacity and sewer mains can be over whelmed which cause’s back-ups into basements.
The project’s history starts in 2009 with complaints from city residents of sewer backups which occurred during a heavy rain storm. The City started monitoring flows in sewer mains and sanitary sewer lift stations. The data that was collected was analyzed and a report generated which was submitted to the public and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Within the report, which presented the data regarding flows in the sewers, it also presented four possible solutions to the problem. These four possible solutions which varied from the disconnection of storm water connections in the sanitary sewer system to increasing both the size of the sanitary sewer mains in the streets and increasing the size of the sewer treatment plant. The report also indicated the estimated construction cost for each possible solution, with the least expensive one being disconnection of storm water connections to the sanitary sewers to the most expensive being to increase both the capacity of the treatment plant and the sewer mains located in the streets. The City of Alma, with the approval of MDEQ, has chosen the least expensive method to correct the problem so that we can eliminate sanitary sewer backups into resident’s basements.
The City of Alma has been named a "Tree City USA" by The National Arbor Day Foundation on an annual basis since 1985. The City has received this national recognition because of their tree planting and care efforts.
To become a "Tree City USA," a community must meet four standards: a tree board or department, a community tree ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The City of Alma is proud to sponsor an ongoing process of growth and renewal--a program of planting and care that continues through the years.
Since 1993, the City of Alma has planted over 422 trees throughout the parks and City of Alma.
The City of Alma also performs an intensive forestry maintenance program. The program is a proactive plan, with the intended benefits of the protection of property and the safety of the public resulting from the removal of trees and limbs that pose a danger. This involves the trimming and pruning of all street trees over a five year period, primarily in the spring and late fall and is repeated every five years.
It is the City's goal to ensure all the City owned right-of-way trees will have been trimmed or pruned. The program also functions to plant young trees to replace those that are removed and supplement our existing public trees.
City Charter and Code of Ordinances
525 East Superior Street
Alma, Michigan 48801
Phone (989) 463-8336
Fax (989) 463-5574