Interest in Champion waterlines is gauged

CHAMPION — While efforts to possibly get waterlines extended to Bristol and Mecca are facing obstacles with lack of interest from residents, Trumbull County officials are seeing if Champion residents want to have waterlines extended to their township.

More than 75 people attended an informational meeting Monday at Champion High School where Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith and deputy Sanitary Engineer Gary Newbrough explained the results of surveys sent out last year, gauging whether residents would pay for waterlines to be extended to their properties.

Smith said the Blueprint to Prosperity waterline was installed from Braceville to West Farmington to bring water to Braceville, Southington, Farmington and West Farmington.

“That project is the driving force to why there is interest in other communities to get water extended to their areas,” he said.

Newbrough said of 3,500 surveys sent out in Champion last year more than 2,190 were not returned. He said 354 indicated they are interested in connecting a waterline to curb service, and 167 wanting a curb box. The majority, 723 respondents, said they were not interested in public water service — happy instead with their current well system.

A curb box would cost a property owner $35 per month over 30 years to help retire any project debt, he said.

Newbrough said, based on surveys, most of the interest for water is in the southwestern part of Champion near Southington, with the least interest on the eastern side of the township near Mecca.

“We will look and see what areas would be feasible to move forward. If the properties are scattered throughout the township it would not be viable to proceed,” he said.

Smith said the project would only move forward if there was enough interest from residents wanting waterlines to connect.

“The level of interest will determine if the project is economically plausible to extend waterlines,” he said.

Smith said there was initially some interest in Bristol to tie into the line but with few surveys being returned from residents the interest to proceed with waterlines along state Route 45 is not there. He said there is also limited interest in Mecca area with few residents signing a petition with 75 percent of property owners along state Route 46 needing to sign a petition.

Newbrough said since 2004 seven waterline extension projects have all been turned down due to lack of interest.

“We need to have a certain amount of customers to proceed with such projects in order to have the costs to offset the debt of the project,” Newbrough said.

“The county will seek grant money to help lower and offset the costs,” Smith said.

If the project were to move forward, location in township would determine if water would come from Newton Falls or Warren.

Residents were told they could keep wells and still connect to awaterline but they would need a backflow valve to prevent cross contamination, which requires a yearly inspection.

Fire hydrants would also be part of the project if waterlines are extended.

Residents had mixed feelings on the project.

Carolyn Shaffer of Oak Hill Drive said she would be interested, indicating she has a well — but when power goes out there is no water so having the waterline would be good.

“This is something I am interested in and we could benefit from,” she said.

Dan Palmer of Oak Hill Drive said he believes having water would also benefit him so he would support the project.

Bill Lamb of Center Street said being older he is not interested and indicated he would leave it to the next people who get his property to decide.

“It’s quite a bit of money,” he said.

Chuck Neff of State Road said he was not interested, indicating he has too much frontage and being older paying something for 30 years it would be his family members who would end up paying off the debt.

Bob Brady of North Park Avenue said he can see where the project would be more feasible paying over 30 years instead of being based on front footage.