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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Delta: State debates reservoir sale for $15,000

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Delta officials may buy more than 100 million gallons of water from the state this year.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is considering whether to divest its interest - 38.8 percent - in the cooperative Delta No. 2 reservoir, and has tentatively offered to sell it to Delta for $15,000.

The price would cover the state's expenses, such as maintenance costs, since the reservoir was constructed as a cooperative venture between the ODNR and village, said Dick Bartz, chief of the ODNR's Division of Water.

The reservoir was to be a regional water source, said Gary Baker, Delta village administrator, but that never developed. In 1988 when a drought hit the area, there was some discussion about pumping water to Swanton, but "it started to rain and they didn't have to do that," he said.

Jon Gochenour, Swanton village administrator, said Swanton doesn't have a need now for Delta's water. Swanton has an extra capacity of a half-million gallons of water per day. Part of the discussion when the drought occurred in 1988, he said, was whether Swanton should tap into Delta's reservoir rather than improve Swanton's plant. But Swanton decided to make the upgrades.

In the early 1960s, Ohio experienced one of its worst droughts in recorded history, and many communities were caught short of water. Ohio voters approved a state-wide bond issue for comprehensive water planning and supply development. The Northwest Ohio Water Plan, the first in a series of five regional water plans, recommended construction of reservoirs for local and regional water supply, according to the ODNR.

About 10 reservoirs, including Delta's, were built in northwest Ohio as part of that water plan, and the state is re-evaluating costs and liability to continue in the cooperative arrangements, Mr. Bartz said.

"It may not be in the best interest of the state to stay in" the agreements, he said.

The state paid $1.2 million toward the cost of the 400-million gallon, $3.2 million reservoir, Mr. Baker said. The state's share amounts to 155 million gallons, he said.

Delta council plans to discuss it during its committee-of-the-whole meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers.

The group will discuss another ODNR-related topic - a footbridge that sits too low in a flood way. The council is reviewing options and costs to address it, Mr. Baker said.

Raising the footbridge, which divides Panther Estates and Fewless Creek Estates, could cost $30,000 to $50,000, he said.

One option is to remove the bridge and not replace, but Mr. Baker said "an awful lot of people use it."

any impact on Fewless Creek, but a study to prove that could cost the village $20,000, he said. The footbridge divides Panther Estates and Fewless Creek Estates.

One option could be to remove the bridge and not replace, but Mr. Baker said that "an awful lot of people use it," including students who cross the bridge enroute to the nearby Pike-Delta-York High School.



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