(Posted May 2, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
County and township officials are looking into extending sewer service to Summerford.
On April 30, the Madison County commissioners approved a contract with MS Consultants of Columbus to perform preliminary engineering work and to research funding options for the project.
The idea is to connect Summerford’s 90 residences to the county-run sewer plant that serves nearby Choctaw Lake. Currently, those residences are served by individual leech beds or aeration systems.
“We’ve spoken to the trustees about it. They say there are a number of potentially failing leech beds,” said Rob Slane, county administrator, adding that the area has several small lots on which wells and leech beds are close together.
While the Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging local officials to extend sewer service to the community, they are not mandating it, Slane noted.
“This is something that’s been in the works for a long time. A sewer system has been needed there for quite a while,” said Bill Laney, Somerford Township trustee.
The first step will be to conduct a door-to-door income survey among the community’s residents. If the data shows that the area is low-income, county and township officials can apply for government funding to help cover the cost of the project. The survey will take place sometime in the next couple of months.
“We feel we can do a considerable amount (of the work) with grant dollars,” Slane said. “We intend to not financially burden those residents.”
The township trustees have agreed to assist the county in covering costs, such as upfront funding for reimbursement style grants. The county’s sanitary sewer account is covering the preliminary engineering costs, which are not to exceed $46,674.
The sewer plant is located just south of Choctaw Lake, between Old Columbus Road and I-70. Engineers are suggesting that the county secure utility easements that would allow them to run a line through farm fields behind Karen Drive in Summerford, then under I-70 to the plant.
Slane said that, at this time, he does not know what the overall cost of the project would be.
“We hope to do public information meetings, but first we need to get an idea of how probable it is to do this,” Laney said.