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Published: Wednesday, 4/6/2005

Fayette: 4-H camp, village benefit from sewage system link


FAYETTE - A big pile of mud marks the "rest in peace" place for 4-H Camp Palmer's wastewater treatment system that was on its death bed for years.

The camp's new sanitary sewer system finally is on line, marking a major development for the camping complex near Harrison Lake State Park.

"We were working with a very old waste treatment system," said Allison Dowell, Camp Palmer's executive director. The camp's inhouse system was outdated and had trouble keeping pace, particularly in recent years as more people spent more time at the camp.

The sewer system was an ongoing topic of discussion during Ms. Dowell's 12-year tenure at the camp. Meeting minutes show that discussions date back decades.

"We've been dreaming of this day for 30 years, of the day that we would have a long-term solution to properly handle wastewater," she said.

Through a cooperative venture, the camp's system is linked directly to improvements that have been made to the sanitary-sewer system in nearby Fayette.

The project, including upgrades at the camp and in the village, cost about $500,000.

Camp Palmer received a capital grant from the state for sewer system improvements, and the village's costs were offset by outside funding, including grants. Fayette also obtained a no-interest loan from the state's water pollution control loan fund.

Joining forces on the project meant a "win-win" for the village and the camp, officials said. The camp needed access to a sewer treatment facility and the village's system had capacity available for the camp's sewage, said Tom Spiess, Fayette village administrator.

As a result of the cooperative venture, Fayette was able to secure funding to make much-needed upgrades to the village's malfunctioning sewer system, solving some long-standing problems, he said. In addition, the project means additional revenue for the village. It is estimated that the camp will pay a few thousand dollars a year to the village for sanitary sewer services. Because it is outside of the village, the camp will pay a surcharge for the services.

Operated in conjunction with The Ohio State University, and OSU Extension , the camp features indoor and outdoor living and recreational facilities. Camp Palmer is a self-supporting, non-profit corporation operating almost entirely on camp revenues. Eleven counties in northwest Ohio own the camp where more than 200,000 youth and adults have participated in activities during the last half century.

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