New backup generation adds cost to BG water project

A new backup generator, roof repairs and additional engineering costs will add about $1.1 million to the
cost of an expansion project at Bowling Green’s water treatment plant on the Maumee River.
Director of Utilities Kevin Maynard told the Board of Public Utilities Monday night that the Ohio EPA
will hold off on final approval of the project without the generating capacity to back up full plant
capacity of 11 million gallons of water per day. The power would be needed to operate the plant and pump
the water from the plant to the city in the event that the regular power supply fails.
“It’s in the letter ‘You must demonstrate the ability’ and we can’t do that with the existing
generation,” Maynard told BPU Chairman John Mekus.
Maynard said the plant has 750 kilowatt and 365 kilowatt generators. He said the original plan was to
move the larger generator to run the plant addition, but the unit has not been reliable and isn’t large
enough to do the job.
The new plan is to retire the 750 KW unit and purchase a new 1,500 KW diesel unit for $700,000.
Plant Superintendent Bill Ash said “A lot of money has been spent to maintain the unit and it still does
not give us the kind of pure power we need.” Ash said the unit, at least 30 years old, does not produce
the kind of power that can reliably run the variable speed motors on the pumps that send the water to
the city.
During the 95-minute meeting the board also:
• Heard an update on the extension of a water line along Bowling Green Road East (Ohio 105) but made no
final decision on the issue, pending a legal opinion from the city attorney. Plumbing contractor Neal
Gearhart took responsibility for installing the line. He said most of the line is on private property,
except for the part that goes under the highway.
• Approved a new wholesale electric contract with the village of Tontogany. The village buys power from
the city and distributes it on a system the village owns. Maynard said the city has been working with
the village on the new contract since January and the village plans to put the rates into effect July 1.

• Heard a lengthy water utility cost of service study and rate review. The board took no action and will
get another report in the near future before implementing new rates, the first change since Jan. 2005.

• Learned that residents in areas where new electric and water meters are being installed will receive
automated phone calls on Saturday mornings with information about the projects.