Sewer project still stalled

A potential sanitary sewer line project for west Groveport Road remains stalled as Groveport officials await the complete results of health and environmental testing in the area.

Marc Studley of Access Storage, located on west Groveport Road, appealed to Groveport Village Council at its July 23 meeting to proceed with the proposed west Groveport Road sanitary sewer project. But Groveport Village Council members stated they wanted to hold off taking any action regarding the potential sewer line until the results from the Ohio EPA and Franklin County’s health and environmental testing of the area had been completed.

On Oct. 22 the Franklin County Board of Health reported to the village that a field review of the area was completed Oct. 16. According to the county’s report, "We visually inspected numerous commercial properties between Hamilton Road west to the corner of Swisher Road. In the course of our review we did not discover evidence of any waste water violations."

The Ohio EPA notified the village that it would be sampling the area in question on Oct. 4 to document any  "unsanitary conditions." Ohio EPA officials also indicated they would "investigate any potential source of contamination that may impact surface waters in or near the area" and also would sample for bacteria in the area.

As of the Oct. 22 Groveport Village Council meeting, village officials had not yet received the Ohio EPA’s report.

"I don’t know when and if anything is forthcoming from the EPA," said Village Administrator Jon Crusey.

Studley sent a letter to the village dated Oct. 22 requesting the sewer project be placed back on council’s agenda.

However, council was reluctant to do so.

"Until we hear from both entities (the county and the Ohio EPA) I don’t feel it’s necessary for us to have this (the proposed sewer line project) on the agenda," said Councilwoman Jan Stoots at council’s Oct. 22 meeting.

The rest of council concurred with Stoots.

The proposed  2,100 foot, $863,000 ($1.6 million if potential interest on notes/bonds is included in the total cost) sanitary sewer line would include a mix of residential, farm, churches, and commercial properties along Groveport Road west from Greenpointe Drive to the First Baptist Church of Groveport. The sewer line would serve an area encompassing 240 acres.

Studley has stated the benefits the sanitary sewer line would bring to the area include: commercial and light industrial growth as outlined in the village’s comprehensive plan; additional income tax revenue; development that would not add students to "an already overburdened school district;" and that new development would clean up "a blighted area" that more than 10,000 cars per day pass through.

Crusey told council in July that, out of the 16 affected properties in the area, two are owner occupied residential properties with one located in the village limits and the other in Madison Township.

However, Crusey noted the potential financial hardship of the property owners (through potential assessments to pay for the project) is only one factor council is considering in its review of  the potential project. He cited the cost of the project, assessment options, and the results of pending Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing in the area as other factors council is reviewing.

Councilman Ed Rarey believes council should not commit to the sewer project because it must have money available to pay for other long awaited needs elsewhere in the village such as sidewalks, water and sewer upgrades, and road work. He added that the village may eventually also be responsible for the cost of reconstructing Bixby Road after the Ohio Department of Transportation builds an interchange at U.S. 33 and Bixby Road in the next few years.

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