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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

State cash eyed for Sylvania water-tank project


A new elevated water-tank project is on tap in the city of Sylvania where officials hope to snag some state funds to help offset the estimated $4 million cost.

Sylvania council last week gave the go-ahead for the city to apply for a $447,150 grant and a $447,150 no-interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission. If approved, the funds would be available after July 1.

Plans for the new water tank are being designed and should be completed late this year, and a site has been selected at the southeast corner of the city's forestry division off Sylvania-Metamora Road, said Jeffrey Ballmer, Sylvania's director of public service.

Council's utilities committee will meet soon to discuss options to pay for the balance of the project, he said. Options could include seeking low-interest funds from the Ohio Water Development Authority, using money from the city's capital improvement funds or water funds, or possibly raising water rates.

Sylvania receives its water from the city of Toledo via a 20-inch waterline in Holland-Sylvania Road from Sylvania Avenue to its pumping station and 500,000-gallon ground storage tank. From there, water is pumped into a 500,000-gallon elevated tank in Burnham Park where it is distributed into 88 miles of waterlines for use by residents and industry and for firefighting.

Based on an industry standard, the city should have at least a one-day supply of water in storage or in hand in case something goes wrong, he said. If the city ran into a problem and lost its water supply for a short amount of time, its water on hand would only last four or five hours, he said.

On average, water usage in the city is about 2.3 million gallons a day, but the figure soars on hot summer days. Record usage is over 5 million gallons per day.

The city has imposed water restrictions during dry summers in an effort to conserve water. No mandatory curtailments were necessary, "but we've come close," Mr. Ballmer said.

The new water tank would supplement the city's distribution system and enhance the supply for firefighting, he said. It would keep adequate water pressure in the whole system, he said, and would allow the city to have at least a one-day supply in case of an emergency.

Currently, if a couple of fires occur in July when people are watering gardens, flower beds, and yards, "there would not be enough water for everything," he said.

Plans call for a composite tank with a concrete shaft. The bowl would be about 40 feet high and 92 feet in diameter.

The tank would be 120 feet tall, about as tall as the city's elevated tank in Burnham Park, Mr. Ballmer said.

Officials should know in November if the fund application has been approved, he said.

Sylvania submitted an application last year but didn't get the funding because no site had been selected and no plans had been started, Mayor Craig Stough said.

The application this time should score higher - it is in competition with other projects in Lucas County - because a site has been chosen and plans are under way, he said.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or


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