By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
On Oct. 1, London City Council gave the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approval to continue the engineering and design process for a second water plant, water tower and well field.
CH2M Hill, an engineering firm out of Columbus, started the process a few years ago. They will continue the process, checking into new technology and regulations, finishing the engineering and pricing out materials.
The push to get the project back on track followed the water outage London suffered this summer. A break in an aging line leading from the water plant to the water tower left the city without water for a day.
Water levels were a problem before the outage. Water usage is up in general in London, said BPU board member Stan Kavy, due in part to recent expansions of industrial businesses in town.
“We were running fairly low this year, plus one of our better wells was down,” he said.
For the short-term, the city has repaired the broken line and drilled a new well to replace the failed old one. The new well has been tested and will go online soon.
“We’re also working with the engineers to see what else we can do to keep our water supply up” (while the long-term project gets under way), Kavy said.
The long-term project calls for a second well field and small water plant on 20 acres the city owns near Staples on Route 142. One well is already in place on the property, put in seven or eight years ago. A second well is needed to meet Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The plant for those wells would be operated remotely from the city’s existing water plant located on Chrisman Avenue.
The second part of the long-term project calls for construction of an additional water tower for the city to be located at the main plant. The tower would double the city’s water capacity, Kavy said.
Mayor David Eades supports the project, saying it is necessary to attract new businesses and allow further expansion of existing businesses.
“There are companies out there looking for places to land. We have some manufacturing looking at us now. They all know our water problems,” Eades said.
The estimated cost of the project is $8.5 million. It will be about 18 months before the project can go to bid. The loan to pay for the project will require city council ap-proval. If everything continues to move forward, the estimated completion date is 2016.