City talks waste water treatment

By Bev Mullen - For the Record-Herald

The city’s waste water treatment plant was the main item of discussion at Wednesday’s Washington C.H. City Council meeting.

Dale Lynch, council chairman, opened the last council meeting of the month at 7:30 p.m. Gary Long, an engineer with ch2m, provided a report. Long and the nationally-known ch2m have been hired to facilitate the implementation of the court-ordered three phase approach to amending the problems with the waste water treatment plant that put the City of Washington Court House in jeopardy with the Ohio EPA back in 2007.

Phase I will include an analysis of the cost of the project and how to best spread that cost out so there is little impact on rate-payers. Construction of the waste water treatment plant improvements will not begin until 2022 and are not expected to be completed until 2026.

The problem is when it rains for a long time or rains heavily, the waste water treatment plant overflows, creating an environmental problem for Washington Court House and its residents. According to Long, “You have no choice, this project has to go forward.” Dale Lynch noted, “We have to do this now for the future of this city. We, as the council, will not be popular for this decision, but it is the right thing to do.”

City Manager, Joseph Denen, stated that “at the end of Phase I, we will reevaluate and determine if Phase II and Phase III are necessary.”

Jim Heath, city service manager, was quick to say that “We all need to remember this is not an increase on the water rate, just on the sewer rate. The last sewer rate increase was in 1996.”

The cost of the entire project, if all three phases are needed, will be $44,264.481 spread over a 25-year period. According to Denen, “even without the EPA or a court order, we would have to do this anyway.”

In other business, the minutes of the Aug. 10 regular council meeting and the Aug. 18 council work session were both approved. Also approved were the minutes of the Financial and Personnel Committee (purchase of a dump truck and the Washington Avenue project) and the Economic Strategies Cooperative Committee (search for an economic developer and designation of a recreation district).

During the City Manager’s report, Denen shared that “the water condition for the City of Washington Court House is excellent and that withdrawal from Paint Creek had started again. Since we built the second well, we have not had any big problems. According to the last raw water reserve calculation done on August 18, we wouldn’t run out of water until September, 2017.”

Denen also noted that “the natural gas supplier winter price rate has been fixed at 0.434ccf. This rate is slightly less than last winter’s price. Our residents will receive a letter in the near future explaining the fixed winter price and the nicest thing about this is that current customers don’t have to do anything to stay enrolled.”

City council also approved the second reading of four resolutions confirming the appointment of four individuals to the City of Washington Court House Dog Park Committee. Also approved were first readings for council’s appointments to the Charter Review Commission for the City of Washington Court House, a resolution communicating support for the concept of a recreation district that embraces all of Fayette County, including Washington Court House, and a resolution accepting the amounts and rates determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.

After hearing from one local citizen regarding the number of wild critters in her neighborhood, council adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

By Bev Mullen

For the Record-Herald