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Sewer project could go forward

Warren council to move on $32M worth of legislation

WARREN — City council is expected to place $32.24 million worth of legislation into second reading, which will allow the construction of three sewer projects and begin phase one of an extensive improvement of the wastewater pollution plant.

The projects include $3,240,000 worth of sewer improvements in the areas of Perkins Park, Park Avenue and Franklin Street, as well as providing sanitary sewers for 16 addresses along High Street. The phase one plant and pump station capital improvement plan is expected to cost $29 million before its completion.

Loans from the state’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund already have been pre-approved, according to Ed Haller, city pollution control director. They are awaiting the Ohio EPA’s final approval of the project to begin.

Each of the projects are required by the Ohio EPA to be done, according to Haller.

The three neighborhood sewer projects must be completed by June 1, 2021. The larger capital improvement project is due to be completed by March 3, 2023.

Council authorized the design of the three sewer projects on Feb. 13, 2019, and it authorized the design of phase one of the plant and pump station on Nov. 21, 2017, according to Haller.

THE PROJECTS

The Perkins Park parallel sewer will add a larger 36-inch sewer in parallel with an existing 15-inch sewer, which will allow the city to close a sanitary sewer overflow in the downtown area opened in 2014 to stop flooding into the basements of offices and apartments located downtown. Estimated cost of the project is $1.5 million. The city already has spent $297,580 for the design phase.

The dry weather overflow sewer, located on Park Avenue and Franklin Street, will replace an existing 12-inch sewer with a larger 24-inch sewer at an estimated cost of $740,000. The city already has spent $99,836 for the design phase of the project.

The High Street sewer project will provide sanitary sewers for 16 addresses along High Street. It has an estimated cost of $1 million. The city already spent $201,823 on the design phase of the project.

Phase 1 plant and pump station capital improvement plan is designed to refurbish both the South Leavitt and Main Avenue pump stations, install a new septage receiving station and refurbish the plant screen building, refurbish the balance of the primary settling tanks and clarifiers, as well as updating the process monitoring and electrical systems. The estimated cost of this project is $29 million. The design for these projects already has cost $2,450,200.

“The projects will not cost the city’s rate payers any additional money,” Haller said. “We have the funds to pay for these projects in our operating budget. Some are being paid for with money raised in the rate increase approved by residents in 2010. The funds for these projects began to be collected after that rate increase, but they were not done.”

AWAITING THE EPA

Even with council’s approval for the construction of these projects, the city must wait for Ohio EPA to complete its design review.

“We have submitted all four projects for EPA design review and for permit to install,” Haller said. “Once we have both Warren City Council approval and the EPA-approved permit to install, then each project will be advertised for construction bidding.”

Councilman Larry Larson, D-1st Ward, described equipment in some areas of the waste water treatment plant as antiquated.

“Some of the equipment in the plant has been operating for more than twice their projected lifespans,” Larson said. “It is time to begin replacing this equipment.”

Larson is the head of council’s water and sewer committee.

Councilman John Brown, D-at Large, described the plant having glaring deficiencies that need to be cleaned up.

“The city promised to begin making necessary repairs at the plant when it increased sewer rates in 2010, but it was never done,” Brown said. “We have equipment in the system that was placed in when John F. Kennedy was president.”

Councilman Ken MacPherson, D-5th Ward, said the council should not move forward with the approval of these plans until it has committee meetings to discuss the projects.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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