Elmore link to county water system considered

Larry Limpf

A resolution authorizing the preparation of preliminary engineering plans, cost estimates and specifications for extending the Ottawa County Regional Water supply to the Village of Elmore has been approved by the county commissioners.
The resolution, approved Aug. 10, follows a conference call earlier this month between county and village officials and representatives of Poggemeyer Design Group, an engineering firm, to discuss the proposal. It was also discussed last week during a meeting of village council’s public works/properties committee.
At present, the county’s regional water distribution system extends west as far as the Materion Corp. facility on W. Portage River South Road, outside the village limits in Harris Township.
Extending the waterline to the village has been considered for years but the availability of federal and state funding for infrastructure has renewed interest in the project, Dave Hower, village administrator, said.
“The county reached out to us about a month ago,” he said.
The village currently has four municipal water wells. Hower said the village would retain its water tower and its distribution system with the county supplying the water to a master meter at the village limits.
“We would have to continue to monitor the water chemistry and insure it is safe for consumption within the village. That would be our responsibility,” he said. “Basically, the county would be the wholesale distributor of the water at that point.”
When the village formed a Joint Economic Development District in 2014 with Harris and Woodville townships and Ottawa and Sandusky counties, the ability of the village to treat and distribute water to potential commercial and industrial users requiring large volumes was a concern, Hower said.
Mayor Rick Claar said public meetings to inform residents about the proposed extension from the county system would be held.
He said linking to the county system would benefit the village.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something positive for economic development and the future growth of the village,” he said.
A bill passed by the Ohio legislature in June allocates $250 million statewide for infrastructure and related projects, said Kelly Frey, Ottawa County sanitary engineer.
But a higher priority for his department than the Elmore water extension, he said, is a joint project with Lucas County to provide sanitary sewer service in portions of Jerusalem Township and Allen Township where failing septic systems are threatening water quality.
The two counties are each applying for grants of $250,000 to fund design work for the project, Gino Monaco, administrator of the Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering Department, said, adding health departments from both counties have conducted sampling of Crane and Cedar creeks.
According to the county’s 2020 annual report, a staff of 40 employees is responsible for the operation of a 9-million-gallon-per-day regional water treatment plant, three 500,000-gallon elevated water storage towers and more than 184 miles of water transmission and distribution mains serving the City of Port Clinton, Village of Oak Harbor and portions of seven townships, including Danbury, Catawba Island, Portage, Erie, Bay, Salem and Harris.
The treatment plant complied with all Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s treatment requirements in 2020 and revenues exceeded expenses by $258,224.
The regional distribution system operated within budget and revenues exceeded expenses by $328,495, permitting funds to continue to be set aside for future repair, replacement, and rehabilitation projects.
The 2020 average annual residential water rate ($462.70) for users of the distribution system was approximately 27 percent below the 2018 statewide average rate of $639.


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