Stony Ridge sewer costly for residents

STONY RIDGE — Mary McClain is well aware that her unincorporated community in northeastern Wood County
needs sewers. But she is also painfully aware that the price tag assigned to the sewer project is too
high for her budget as a retiree.
The Ohio EPA ordered in 1995 that the Stony Ridge and Lemoyne communities in Troy Township get sewers
since faulty septic systems are contaminating the environment. But for years the project sat dormant,
stalled by the enormous cost to put sewer lines in the rocky terrain.
However, now the project is moving forward, and McClain’s home on U.S. 20 in Stony Ridge is among the 265
homes to be hooked up to the sewer. She’s not upset with the construction plans or the grinder that will
be planted in her yard. She is worried about the estimated $85 monthly fee she’ll be paying for the next
40 years — or however long she lives in the home.
“It is needed,” she said of the sewers. But the cost is just too high, in addition to the $2,500 hook up
fee.
“They want to cram it right down our throats,” whether the residents can manage the expense of not. “I
just think that price could come down.”
And it may do just that, according to Jerry Greiner, executive director of the Northwestern Water and
Sewer District, which is putting in the $5.4 million sewer line. The district has secured $4.42 million
from the USDA for the project — with $2.47 million in grant money and $1.95 million in a low interest
loan. The project has also been awarded $600,000 in a community development block grant.
Now the district is waiting to hear about possible federal stimulus money coming to the project.
“We won’t know that for a couple more months,” Greiner said.
That in addition to the good bidding climate could bring the residents’ monthly bills down to a more
manageable amount, he said.
“It will be less,” he predicted.
But those words aren’t exactly comforting to McClain, who is worried the residents are picking up a big
portion of the bill for the sewers that will also hook up to the Troy Energy industrial park near Route
20 and Pemberville Road.
“Were it not for that, this would not be happening,” McClain said. “As far as I’m concerned they should
be paying for the damn thing. But you just can’t fight city hall.”
The industrial park will be able to recoup some of its sewer expenses — unlike McClain.
“You want to use my john, it’s 5 bucks,” she said, joking about her only way to profit from the sewer
line.
But Greiner said the Troy Energy portion of the project is actually helping to make the overall cost more
affordable.
However, he did agree that the $85 per month rate is higher than the average of $50 to $70 for other
projects the district has completed.
“It’s a little higher only because the project is bigger and more complicated,” he said. Much of the
complication is due to the rocky terrain in the appropriately named “Stony Ridge” area.
And though McClain questioned the wisdom of starting the construction this winter, Greiner said winter
construction is actually more economical since bids traditionally come in lower, and the mess to yards
is minimized.
“We like to do them in the winter,” he said. “It’s cheaper.”
McClain also questioned the decision to send the sewer to a Toledo treatment plant, which is already
beyond capacity.
“There are just so many details these people aren’t addressing. Do they just think we are a bunch of
rubes out here?” she said.
But Greiner said the EPA has approved the sewage from the new lines to go to the Toledo plant.
“Otherwise, we’d be looking for other options,” he said.
McClain is also worried about the rumor of waterlines coming next for Stony Ridge and Lemoyne.
“What really makes me sick is, this is sewer only,” she said of the sizeable price tag.
But again, Greiner said that rumor is false.
“There are no plans for water.”
However, McClain has little trust for the officials in control of the project. And though they have
responded to her calls and letters in a polite and informative manner, she is guessing they have her
photo on the district wall.
“I’m sure they throw darts at it,” she said.STONY RIDGE — Mary McClain is well aware that her
unincorporated community in northeastern Wood County needs sewers. But she is also painfully aware that
the price tag assigned to the sewer project is too high for her budget as a retiree.
The Ohio EPA ordered in 1995 that the Stony Ridge and Lemoyne communities in Troy Township get sewers
since faulty septic systems are contaminating the environment. But for years the project sat dormant,
stalled by the enormous cost to put sewer lines in the rocky terrain.
However, now the project is moving forward, and McClain’s home on U.S. 20 in Stony Ridge is among the 265
homes to be hooked up to the sewer. She’s not upset with the construction plans or the grinder that will
be planted in her yard. She is worried about the estimated $85 monthly fee she’ll be paying for the next
40 years — or however long she lives in the home.
“It is needed,” she said of the sewers. But the cost is just too high, in addition to the $2,500 hook up
fee.
“They want to cram it right down our throats,” whether the residents can manage the expense of not. “I
just think that price could come down.”
And it may do just that, according to Jerry Greiner, executive director of the Northwestern Water and
Sewer District, which is putting in the $5.4 million sewer line. The district has secured $4.42 million
from the USDA for the project — with $2.47 million in grant money and $1.95 million in a low interest
loan. The project has also been awarded $600,000 in a community development block grant.
Now the district is waiting to hear about possible federal stimulus money coming to the project.
“We won’t know that for a couple more months,” Greiner said.
That in addition to the good bidding climate could bring the residents’ monthly bills down to a more
manageable amount, he said.
“It will be less,” he predicted.
But those words aren’t exactly comforting to McClain, who is worried the residents are picking up a big
portion of the bill for the sewers that will also hook up to the Troy Energy industrial park near Route
20 and Pemberville Road.
“Were it not for that, this would not be happening,” McClain said. “As far as I’m concerned they should
be paying for the damn thing. But you just can’t fight city hall.”
The industrial park will be able to recoup some of its sewer expenses — unlike McClain.
“You want to use my john, it’s 5 bucks,” she said, joking about her only way to profit from the sewer
line.
But Greiner said the Troy Energy portion of the project is actually helping to make the overall cost more
affordable.
However, he did agree that the $85 per month rate is higher than the average of $50 to $70 for other
projects the district has completed.
“It’s a little higher only because the project is bigger and more complicated,” he said. Much of the
complication is due to the rocky terrain in the appropriately named “Stony Ridge” area.
And though McClain questioned the wisdom of starting the construction this winter, Greiner said winter
construction is actually more economical since bids traditionally come in lower, and the mess to yards
is minimized.
“We like to do them in the winter,” he said. “It’s cheaper.”
McClain also questioned the decision to send the sewer to a Toledo treatment plant, which is already
beyond capacity.
“There are just so many details these people aren’t addressing. Do they just think we are a bunch of
rubes out here?” she said.
But Greiner said the EPA has approved the sewage from the new lines to go to the Toledo plant.
“Otherwise, we’d be looking for other options,” he said.
McClain is also worried about the rumor of waterlines coming next for Stony Ridge and Lemoyne.
“What really makes me sick is, this is sewer only,” she said of the sizeable price tag.
But again, Greiner said that rumor is false.
“There are no plans for water.”
However, McClain has little trust for the officials in control of the project. And though they have
responded to her calls and letters in a polite and informative manner, she is guessing they have her
photo on the district wall.
“I’m sure they throw darts at it,” she said.