Sugar Ridge may get sewers
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 24 January 2014 10:35
It seemed like just about every homeowner affected by a mandatory sewer installation in Sugar Ridge showed up to learn more about the project Wednesday night.
Most had questions related to whether they'll be required to connect with the new sewer system, or how much it will cost. But another query rang true for many in the group.
"Instead of a project of over $1 million, wouldn't it be more cost effective to identify the septic systems that are not operating correctly and get those fixed?" Mary Benjamin asked. "It doesn't seem logical."
In 2010, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency measured high levels of E. coli in a ditch running along Sugar Ridge Road. The agency ordered a public sanitary sewer system be installed to correct the problem, likely the result of private septic systems improperly draining into the ditch.
Tom Stalter, an engineer with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, explained that some of the homes in the area are on small lots and owners would not be able to repair or replace their systems.
He advised the group they would have to contact Ohio EPA to make suggestions for an alternate solution, as the project had already been ordered.
"We're the tool to get it done," at the water and sewer district, Stalter said.
The affected area encompassing 55 homes was made smaller than the EPA had first mandated, as engineers checked maps to determine which homes drain into the ditch. Another 23 homeowners near the border of the affected area have the option to join the project, and would need petition support from 60 percent of those eligible to join.
Whether or not a parcel drains into the ditch, anyone whose home is within 400 feet of the sewer will be required to connect.
The new sewer line will run along Long Street in the village; down Main Street to Sugar Ridge Road; and along Sugar Ridge, with branches running north and south on Mercer Road and south on Hilt Road, before continuing along Sugar Ridge to connect with an existing line at Ohio 25.
The $1.2 million project will involve about 2.1 miles of sewer to connect with grinder pumps to be installed at each home.
Financing has not been fully resolved but is being pursued through Ohio EPA, Ohio Public Works Commission, Ohio Water Development Authority and the Community Development Block Grant program. As the next step, residents were asked to complete income surveys that could bring more funding to the project and lessen the financial impact on homeowners.
If split between 55 residents with optional homeowners not joining the project, owners will face a bill of between $18,000 and $23,000. Grants could soften the blow by anywhere from $1,000 to $9,000 per home. Stalter said the optional owners joining the project could lessen costs for the required owners by about 5 percent.
Financing needs to be finalized before it can be determined how the cost will be passed on, either through property tax assessments or monthly charges added to an owner's sewer bill, Stalter said.
Homeowners will also be required to connect the pump to their home. Stalter noted that owners generally can choose the pump location, either near the road, or closer to the home to lessen connection costs.
Funding is estimated to be available by the end of the year, with bidding and construction occurring in 2015.