The Ohio EPA contacted the Village of Donnelsville with some ideas on getting uncontaminated water to village residents.
Many of the wells, mostly on the south end of the village, have been contaminated.
“There’s a good possibility we could get the Federal Government to provide a water system for the village,” said Jerry Rouch of the Ohio EPA.
Mike Proffitt, Chief of the Division of Environmental Response of the EPA, said that the current treatment systems on individual wells is not the best idea. “Connection to a public water system is the best way,” said Proffitt. “It is guaranteed protection against the contamination.”
He said that the US EPA considered Donnelsville’s situation as “outside the box,” but that they were willing to look at it.
“The village does not want to be a water supplier,” said Mayor Bob Cornwell. “We cannot afford to have any money in this.”
Cornwell said that the EPA would have a hard time selling the idea to the village residents. “I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the installation of our sewer system,” he said. “The EPA flat out lied to us. They said sewer bills would be around $20 per month. With all of the construction issues and cost overruns, we have to charge over $70 per month.”
Beth Messer, of the Ohio EPA, said that it would be very expensive for a village the size of Donnelsville to operate its own water system. She said the ideal situation would be to see if the Village of Enon would be willing to supply water to Donnelsville.
He said that the project would be funded 90% with Federal dollars and 10% with State dollars. The village would be responsible for maintenance, and those costs could come out of profits from selling the water to village residents.
If Enon agreed, pipes would be laid from Enon to Donnelsville, then throughout the village. Village residents would have to tap in, and township residents between Enon and Donnelsville would have the option of tapping in.
There would be a meter at Enon to measure the amount of water coming to Donnelsville, and the village would be charged for that amount of water. There would also be meters at each home to determine each resident’s usage for billing by Donnelsville.
Proffitt said that most communities determine water and sewer rates from water usage. “What goes in has to come out,” he said.
“If we bill sewer rates by water usage, some people could be paying even more,” said Council Member Richard Baker. “We already have the highest sewer rates around.”
Proffitt said that if meters are involved, most people tend to limit their usage.
“If we can get Enon to own a water system here, I’m all for it,” said Cornwell. He asked the EPA representatives to get back with him with dates they would be available for a public meeting with village residents to explain the system.
“In the meantime, I’ll call [Enon Mayor] Tim [Howard] to see if they have any interest in this plan,” said Cornwell.
In other action, Donnelsville Village Council
• Approved the village budget for 2018. It has to be submitted to the County Auditor’s office by July 15.
• Approved a resolution to put another 5-year renewal of the village’s operating levy on the November ballot. The levy brings in about $32,000 to the village.
• Agreed to allocate $500 for a dumpster during the community garage sale in August. The dumpster would be patrolled by Police to ensure that people from outside the village don’t put items in it.
Police Chief Doug Frank said that the County Engineer’s office asked if Donnelsville would like to be included in the county’s Chip & Seal program for the streets in the village.
He said the process involves spreading tar on the street, then a layer of gravel, and it is rolled twice. Later, excess gravel is swept up and an overlay is applied to seal the street and make it black so that it will absorb heat in the winter and help melt snow.
Council approved $5000 for the project.
Cornwell said that the County Solid Waste District informed him that they would subsidize the village in the amount of $2820 if the village would contract with one trash hauler for all residents of the village.
“It will save our residents money,” he said, “but the big savings will be in less wear and tear to our streets.”
Cornwell noted that there are six different trash haulers that serve his neighborhood. “And those trucks are really heavy. They tear up the streets.”
Council agreed to include discussion of a trash hauler contract during the public meeting for the water system. “We’re looking at some time in August for a public meeting,” said Cornwell.