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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Public asked to help hunt for Delphos reservoir site

DELPHOS, Ohio - After scouring the area unsuccessfully for land for building the city s first reservoir, Delphos city council decided Tuesday night to take the search public.

“The motion we adopted seeks to advertise in local newspapers and contact local Realtors to see if free enterprise will move this process forward a little bit,” said Robert Ulm, City Council president. “We hope to acquire one or more options so that we can see which of the sites would be most suitable.”

Delphos, a city of about 7,000 people that straddles the Allen-Van Wert county line, has been struggling for decades to improve its water supply, talking at times of buying water from the city of Lima or building its own reservoir.

In 1986, voters defeated an income tax proposal that would have paid for construction of a reservoir. A subsequent initiative prohibited the city from buying water from another municipality.

More recently, Delphos secured nearly $3 million in state and federal matching funds to build its own reservoir and treatment system. The next step is finding the real estate for the project.

“I m an optimist, but I would hope that we re months instead of years away from the start of this project,” Mr. Ulm said. “Obviously land acquisition is an important first step.”

The city wants to buy at least 80 acres within five miles of the city and within a mile of the Auglaize or Little Auglaize rivers. The cost of the project will be largely dependent on where the site is, which would affect the length of transmission lines, as well as the type of water treatment system the city installs.

Currently, Delphos gets its water from nine wells. Customers use about 1 million gallons a day, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has suggested it increase its capacity to around 1.5 million gallons a day, Mr. Ulm said.

“We have issues of both quality and quantity,” he said. “The well water is extremely hard, so we re attempting to provide a better quality of water and increase the quantity. As it is, there is not room for any significant economic development growth here.”

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