Council Taking Initial Steps Toward Fixing Water System Problems

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By CECILIA FOX
Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Weekly Record Herald; Printed 4.15.12

WEST MILTON – The Village of West Milton has taken the first steps toward fixing the problems with the water system. At Tuesday’s meeting, council authorized GPS mapping of the village’s entire sewer system beginning in May.
The council awarded the contract for the project to the Operator Training Committee of Ohio, a vocational program out of Columbus, for $12,000.
“We’re going to start in May and we’ll get all the maps back in June. Then we can get started on the other testing we need to do,” Utilities Supervisor Tim Swartzauber said.
The cost for the GPS mapping project will be divided into equal thirds and covered by funds appropriated from the streets, water, and utility funds.
Currently, the flow of water through the wastewater treatment plant is more than double what it should be—900,000 to 1 million gallons a day instead of 400,000 to 500,000—overwhelming the plant and affecting the treatment process.
The overflow is caused by water that isn’t wastewater infiltrating from the ground through defective pipes and bad connections. Another culprit is excess water entering the system from cellar drains, yard drains, manhole covers, cross connections between storm sewers and sanitary sewers, surface runoff and sump pumps.
The GPS satellite analysis will provide a good base map for rectifying the situation, which may take several years. Once the system is mapped, the village can begin to pinpoint issues and take action. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has given the village 53 months to resolve the problem.
The council also approved two resolutions authorizing the purchase of e-coli testing supplies and new UV tubes for the waste water treatment plant.
The plant runs about 85 e-coli tests a year at $16 to $18 per test. Buying the equipment necessary to do the testing in-house will, according to Municipal Manager Matt Kline, reduce day-to-day expenditures.
The supplies will cost about $6,876 and will be purchased from IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
“This is a good price for the equipment which will allow us now to do it in-house. We feel that this capital cost will pay for itself in less than three years,” said Kline.
The council also authorized the purchase of new UV tubes for the wastewater treatment plant. Ultraviolet light is used to kill microorganisms and is a common method of sterilizing wastewater. The new UV tubes will replace the old tubes currently in use and will cost $10,800.
During the manager’s report, Kline addressed claims that the current council has been less thrifty than previous councils.
“The public has the feeling that we’re spending a whole lot more money than previous councils. That’s really not true. We’re actually under budget,” said Kline.
Kline suggested that the council consider rewriting the legislation on purchasing, which was passed in the late 1970s, so that council would only have to approve purchases greater than $15,000. Currently, the council must hear and authorize all purchases greater than $5,000.
According to Kline, most purchases in the $5,000 to $7,000 range are housekeeping items, which may not necessarily require the attention of council.
The council appeared receptive to the idea and agreed to discuss it at a later workshop.

 

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