Residents of the Mon-E-Bak subdivision in Franklin Township will have sanitary sewers by 2012, but not without a cost to homeowners.
Residents filled a community room at the St. Margaret of Cortona Church on N. Hague Avenue to hear a presentation regarding the sanitary sewer installation and its cost.
“This project has been a long time coming, said Franklin Township Trustee Tim Guyton.
“This project is for you, continued Franklin County Sanitary Sewer Engineer Steve Renner.It is both needed and required.
“The septic systems that are in place are old and failing, said Renner.We are going to remove those failing septic systems and build new sewers.
According to Renner, failing septic systems lead to poor water quality and pollution. Residents of Mon-E-Bak have complained of both problems for several years.
The project will consist of four separate areas, although work will be happening in all four areas at the same time.
By the projects completion, about 20,000 feet of new sanitary sewer line will be laid down – enough to connect to 360 homes and businesses.
The total cost of the sanitary sewer project has been estimated at $4.2 million.
According to Renner, those funds are coming from both federal and county monies. All of the contribution from Franklin County is being paid through bonds funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Residents will start seeing heavy equipment and orange barrels roll into their neighborhoods by October or November of this year, with digging to begin soon after. Digging will continue through October 2011, followed by line testing in November.
Residents should be able to begin making connections to the new sewer line in December 2011 or January 2012.
Homeowners will be responsible for the cost of the connection. Renner estimates that cost to be anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000 per home.
“All homeowners will and must be connected to the sewers, said Renner.
An economic assistance program is available to homeowners through the Franklin County Board of Health to help ease the burden of the connection cost.
Residents who apply for the program will be accepted based on income and hardships.
All homeowners approved for economic assistance will use the same contractor, who will be selected based on the lowest bid submitted to the county.
Through the economic assistance program, the cost of the connection will appear as a no interest loan attached to the property.
“If you dont want to make a payment, you dont have to, said Paul Rosile, Assistant Health Commissioner and Director of Environmental Health for Franklin County.The only time it has to be paid is at the sale or transfer of the property.
“We encourage everyone to apply. Hardships are considered, added Rosile.
According to Rosile, homeowners will receive information about the economic assistance program one or two months before connections can begin. The county will host several public meetings at that time to walk residents through the application paperwork.
“Its a pretty streamlined process, Rosile added.
Renner explained the process is different from the traditional method of assessing property taxes for the connection cost.
“This way is about $50 a month in savings to the average homeowner, he said.
Homeowners who do not apply or are not accepted for economic assistance must hire a contractor to tap the line and make a connection. The old septic systems must also be decommissioned and filled in.
Contractors must be chosen from a list of licensed and bonded contractors available through the Franklin County Engineers office.
“They have to be licensed and bonded to tap the county line, explained Renner.
Homeowners will have one year to connect to the new sanitary sewers from the time connections begin.
Once the connections are made, residents will receive quarterly water and sewer bills from the City of Columbus, based on meter readings.
To give residents an idea of how much they may be charged each quarter, Renner explained the average family of four pays about $143 per quarter.
“Water usage can vary widely, though, from family to family, he added.
Surprise to some residents
Renner informed residents at the meeting that during planning for the Mon-E-Bak sewer project, his office did a full record search, researching sewer lines throughout the area.
“We found some places the city had installed sewers and didnt even know they had installed them, he said.
Homeowners in that area could have been connected at any time.
According to Renner, those residents will receive letters informing them they do not have to wait for the projects completion to connect to the sanitary sewers.