Wintersville's sanitary sewer system consists of 13 pump stations and a wastewater treatment plant that have been in continual operation for more than 20 years.
The pumps and motors are wearing out and are becoming costly to maintain. The electrical control components of the lift stations are hard to find, having been replaced with newer technology. An aging chlorine system also needs to be replaced. With this in mind, the water and sewer committee of Village Council has been working with the village administration and W.E. Quicksall Engineers to develop a long-term plan to address these issues.
In August, representatives from W.E. Quicksall presented a report of their assessment of the sanitary sewer system. The five major lift stations were evaluated and the estimated rehabilitation costs are $2,700,000. The sanitary treatment plant repairs/upgrades are estimated to be $2,600,000. With this information, the committee was able to prioritize the work needed at the major lift stations and sanitary treatment plant.
Due to the timing of potential funding sources and application deadlines, it was decided the work be split into three phases: first, sanitary treatment plant improvements; second, large lift station improvements; and third, smaller lift station improvements. In order to take advantage of funding possibilities and money available in our budget, we will be doing each phase sequentially with all three phases estimated to take five years to complete.
Phase 1 improvements at the treatment plant will consist of the installation of a vortex grit removal system; replacement of the clarifier equipment; covers installed over the clarifiers; new aerobic digester, diffusers and blower system; a new sludge belt filter press and an ultraviolet light disinfection system. Installation of this equipment will improve the reliability of the plant to meet stringent discharge limitations and employee safety. The ultraviolet light disinfection system will replace the existing chlorine gas system, which has inherent employee exposure issues from the chlorine gas.
Quick work by our village administrator allowed the village to apply for Ohio Public Works Commission funding this past November for the treatment plant improvements. The village submitted an application requesting $500,000 in grants and $500,000 in a zero-percent interest loan. The balance is to be financed through a low-interest loan (2 percent) from the OWDA and local funds. According to Village Administrator Walt Ziemba, "the village's application was well received and ranked high enough to be forwarded to the OWPC Small Governments Commission for final funding in May 2011."
On Feb. 3, the committee held another meeting to review the proposed work and select the final options for the treatment plant. W.E. Quicksall representatives presented their proposal for engineering services. Based on the committee recommendation, council unanimously voted to award W.E. Quicksall the engineering design contract for the project. This will allow preliminary and detailed engineering work to be done while we finalize the funding.
We will not be able to start construction until all funding is secured. It is our hope to finalize the funding this summer so that construction can start later in the year. Wintersville is in a relative good financial position having just paid off one of the 20-year OWDA loans for the original treatment plant installation. We will now be able to afford the necessary improvements by securing a combination of new grants and/or loans and not raising sewage rates.
(Bottorf is a village councilman and chairman of the water and sewer committee.)