By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Planning has begun for the first phase of a project that will result in a new water tower at U.S. Route 42 and I-70.
Representatives of M-E/IBI Group, a Westerville engineering firm, met with the Madison County commissioners Aug. 19. They presented a timeline for the first phase, which is wellfield development.
The plan calls for two or three wells 200 to 300 feet deep. A study done a few years ago identified several sites in the area with good water supply.
“There are a lot of potential locations for us,” said Keith A. Doll, project manager.
M-E proposes narrowing the options to one or two by November. They recommend 10 acres to allow for future expansion. Ideally, the wellfield, treatment plant and storage tank (tower) would be located on the same piece of property for the sake of simplicity, control and security. It is not necessary, though, Doll said.
“The county should make first contact with property owners,” he continued, noting that local officials will know better which property owners might accommodate the project’s needs. M-E will assist with negotiations and appraisals if needed.
Planners will need to be mindful of underground storage tanks in the area, which is home to several gas stations, as well as the potential for Route 42 to be widened to four lanes in the future.
The goal is to gain EPA site approval by December and have an option to purchase property by January. Then the testing begins, starting with a six-inch diameter test hole and evaluation. Drilling for the first 12-inch diameter well is tentatively slated for March followed by drilling for a second well in May.
Planning and engineering for the wellfield development will cost about $120,000. Drilling will cost $100,000 to $150,000.
Once the wellfield is complete, the next phase will be design and construction of the treatment plant, distribution system and storage tank. Permitting and funding could take time. Doll estimates that the water tower will be operational by late 2016 at the earliest.
M-E estimates the entire project will cost $4 million to $6 million. Grants are available to pay for portions of the project. One option for financing is a low-interest loan through the Ohio Water Development Authority.
Commissioner Paul Gross said the county likely will look at providing its own financing.
Gross also noted that London city officials contacted the county about their potential need for more water capacity in the future. A shared resources agreement could factor into the size of the completed water tower project. On the flipside, the county might need more sewer capacity in the future, which the city could provide.
Kevin Wood of M-E said grant and loan programs exist that favor regionalizing a system and collaboration among government entities.