Ohio EPA pushes Groveport sewer issue

The Ohio EPA is considering its enforcement options regarding what it describes as "inadequate sewerage treatment systems" along west Groveport Road.

In a letter dated Dec. 4, Bill Fischbein, supervising attorney for water programs for the Ohio EPA, wrote that the agency is concerned about "…the real and potential environmental problems/risks posed by these systems" and that a sanitary sewer system be installed to serve the properties in question.

On June 20, the Ohio EPA ordered two properties – St. Mary Catholic Church and Bright Innovations LLC – both located along the unsewered stretch of west Groveport Road, to connect to the village of Groveport’s sanitary sewer system and abandon their private sewage disposal systems.

In an statement Aug. 29, the Ohio EPA noted that water quality samples taken in June 2008 from the ditch across from St. Mary Catholic Church "show fecal coliform and E. coli levels in excess of state water quality standards. This is a potential risk to human health."

St. Mary Catholic Church would be required to connect to the existing sewer line, which now only extends to Greenpointe Drive, by spring 2009 with Bright Innovations ordered to tie in after the church is connected. The property owners were given 30 days to appeal the ruling.

Both property owners filed appeals to these orders.

"Notwithstanding the appeal, the findings and orders are in effect and enforceable," wrote Fischbein. "…we are considering enforcement options to address this non-compliance…"

Reactions

Speaking at Groveport Village Council’s Dec. 8 committee of the whole meeting, Marc Studley of Access Storage, a proponent of the village extending a sanitary sewer line along west Groveport Road, asked council to place consideration of the sewer project back on its agenda in light of the Ohio EPA’s letter. Studley believes the sewer line is necessary for the development of the west Groveport Road area.

The proposed, 2,100 foot, approximately $840,000 sanitary sewer line would include properties along Groveport Road extending west from Greenpointe Drive to the First Baptist Church of Groveport property and would serve an area encompassing 240 acres.

Groveport Village Council initially rejected the plan by a split vote in December 2006 as some council members felt the direct assessments to fund the project would be a burden on the affected property owners. Plus, some property owners in the area feel they do not have sewage problems and therefore do not need the new sewer.

At the Dec. 8 meeting, Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon noted that in September council indicated the affected property owners must decide what they want to do and then come to council and say, ‘This is what we want.’"

Council also has indicated it wants to wait for results of the appeals made by the church and Bright Innovations.

Potential costs

Groveport Finance Director Salak previously provided estimates for direct assessments to affected property owners that would fund the sewer project. Two sets of estimates based on acreage and frontage for the 16 properties were tabulated. The estimates are based on a bond rate of 4.75 percent, which could change.

The 20 year, estimated total assessments for the 16 properties for the proposed project range from $4,516 to $369,952 based on acreage; and from $13,395 to $155,892 based on frontage. Estimated annual payments range from $350 to $28,689 based on acreage; and from  $1,039 to $12,089 based on frontage.

Shannon said direct assessments are used to pay for a project when a municipality determines there is a need to extend a utility and the affected property owners have not voluntarily petitioned the government to do so. Approval of the resolution of necessity would require five of six council votes for approval if the proposed project is not requested by petition by a majority of the affected property owners.
 

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