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Published: Wednesday, 2/6/2008

Fulton County officials seek funds to build water system for northeast

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

WAUSEON - Fulton County commissioners are seeking funds for a proposed $6 million water supply system to serve residents in the northeastern portion of the county.

In a letter sent last week to state officials, commissioners requested funding assistance for infrastructure to provide a safe drinking water supply to Amboy, Fulton, Pike, and Royalton townships, the villages of Metamora and Lyons, and the campus of the Evergreen Local School District.

A meeting to discuss the proposed project, and to begin the process of setting up an advisory board for the project, is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Fulton Township office, said Ziad Musallam, Fulton County sanitary engineer.

The project would provide drinking water to an estimated 1,350 people in the townships; 1,400 people on the Evergreen campus, and 1,100 people in the two villages.

Most of the developed properties within the unincorporated areas of the four townships have been identified by the local health department as having a critical need for water.

Areas in the township are served by private water systems, such as wells, ponds, and storage tanks.

These types of water systems are "very susceptible to contamination as being directly influenced by surface water and consequently subject to waterborne disease outbreak potential," according to the project description.

The project consists of installing water mains and facilities to provide for a treated water supply to the targeted area through a connection into an existing regional water system.

This approach would consolidate three water service areas and ultimately reduce the end-users' costs for capital, operation, and maintenance expenses.

Estimated cost for the new system, which would utilize a treated water supply through the City of Toledo, is $6 million. The county would like to obtain a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $300,000 Ohio Public Works Commission grant.

The county is seeking a federal funding grant for $5.2 million.

If grant funding is approved, design work could begin this fall, and construction would be set for March, 2009, to June, 2010, Mr. Musallam said.

The project isn't intended to create new jobs, but the new water system could help retain jobs and provide an economic development advantage for future industrial and manufacturing needs.

Public meetings with the townships and villages were held between 2005 and 2007, and officials have expressed their support for the project and the regional cooperation approach.

The Evergreen school complex, according to the report, has an existing supply system that is aging, undersized, and has been subject to frequent water main breaks, and the breaks post a critical situation as to the ability of providing adequate and reliable water service for drinking and fire protection for students, staff, and facilities.

The villages of Lyons and Metamora water systems have been required by the Ohio EPA to come into compliance with certain regulations, according to the report.

Each village is facing about $800,000 in improvements to address deficiencies.

Lyons gets its water from Wauseon, and Metamora has its own water supply, Mr. Musallam said. If the new system is built, Metamora would have to abandon its existing facilities, he said.

Lyons, however, has contract obligations with Wauseon, and the new system would supplement the water supply from Wauseon, he said.

The meeting next week will help address questions from residents and officials in the service area, he said.

"Each entity has its own interests and concerns," Mr. Musallam said.

He suggested the creation of the advisory board with one representative from each of the political entities. The board could review rates and rules, and make recommendations to commissioners, for example, he said.

"We hope the right funding comes into place. It definitely would be a great project," Mr. Musallam said.

The bottom line, he said, is to provide water at the same price or a lower price than what it being sold for now, Mr. Musallam said.



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