Water plant repair costs come in lower than expected

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(Posted Jan. 17, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The costs to repair and upgrade the water treatment plant at London Correctional Institution are coming in much lower than Madison County officials expected.

Rob Slane, county administrator, reported that clean-up, repairs and upgrades are estimated to cost $400,000, instead of the $2 million originally estimated.

“This is very good news,” he said at the Jan. 15 county commissioners meeting.

The county purchased the plant from the Ohio Department of Corrections in late December for $1. The county is taking over water and waste water service to London Correctional, Madison Correctional Institution, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, and the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation. The county also plans to expand the water plant’s service area up State Route 56 to Summerford, out Route 40 to Lafayette, and up Route 29 to the I-70 and U.S. Route 42 interchange.

One of the most pressing tasks, Slane said, is clean-up of the water plant’s lime lagoons. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the work needs to be done as soon as possible.

“The EPA had findings and orders on the lagoons when the state owned the plant. With the transfer, the county accepted the findings and orders, so it’s our responsibility to take care of them,” Slane said.

The commissioners gave Slane approval to hire a local company to do the work. The cost is $60,000 and is part of the $400,000 in clean-up, repair and upgrade expenses.

Slane asked the commissioners how they want to pay for the expenses in the short-term. The county won’t see revenue from the plant until water payments come due in February. Among the options he presented were an allocation from the general fund or a bond or loan through the county treasurer’s office. The commissioners said “no” to the general fund allocation, so Slane will talk with county Treasurer Donna Landis about bond and loan options.

The county also will be paying the city of London approximately $120,000 per month for waste water treatment services for the new service area. Before and after waste water payments start coming in, the county will pay London through its Sewer District 2.

Burr Oaks sewer payments         

The county manages waste water services for the Burr Oaks subdivision, which lies just outside of the Mount Sterling corporation limits. The county contracts with the village of Mount Sterling for the services.

Last year, the village increased its water and sewer debt fees to pay off loans for upgrades to its waste water plant and construction of its water plant. The county is passing part of the increase along to customers in Burr Oaks. The previous rate was $14.30 per 1,000 gallons. The new rate is $27.30 per 1,000 gallons. Burr Oaks residents will see the increase starting with their March bills.

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