Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week they have issued a $400,000 interest-free loan to the village of New Boston to design important sanitary sewer improvements. This is in addition to an earlier $1.8 million grant for the project which is expected to cost the village about $4.3 million.
“This is just proof that when you start partnering with the EPA and start working with the state that things can help small communities. I think there was a lot of effort put in by the village partnering with all these, and we were able to get these grants and forgiveness of loan. It’s really a blessing for the village of New Boston, financially. I think we’re the only one in the state that was given this,” said New Boston Mayor James Warren.
According to the Ohio EPA, they began sending letters to the village in 2005 asking for a long-term sewer control plan that would divide the village’s current combined sewer system into two separate lines — one sewer line and one storm water line. Chief among their concerns is the village’s combined sewer overflows (CSO), which is what occurs when too much water and sewage flow through the sewer lines. When that happens, the excess flow will bypass the two pump stations and dump into the river.
The EPA is also concerned about instances of overflows happening inside people’s basements.
The agency sent a letter to the village in February stating they would impose fines for the period of 2004-09 while the village sewers were not in compliance. Village Solicitor Justin Blume said the EPA agreed to stay those fines as long as the village is making progress to resolve the issues, which the village reports they are.
The village submitted its application for the interest-free loan on July 23 following a special morning council meeting. The loan will be paid-back over 20 years from a $1.8 million principal forgiveness grant the village has already received. The interest-free EPA loan will fund detailed design work for future construction to replace a combined sewer system and four pump stations that collect raw sewage and storm water in New Boston and convey it to Portsmouth for treatment.
The planned sewer project is divided into three phases: Phase 1 will install a new six-foot storm sewer underneath the left lane of Rhodes Avenue, from Lakeview Avenue to Clayport Road; Phase 2 will install a six-foot storm sewer on Glenwood Avenue to Rhodes Avenue, and Phase 3 will divert storm water beneath Peebles, Manning and Finney streets. When complete, the work will remove 8 million gallons of storm water from the New Boston sewers to help mitigate their overflow problem.
The total cost of the project is expected to be somewhere near $4.3 million, but the final amount won’t be known until bids have been awarded. Warren said the remaining cost will probably need to be secured with another loan.
According to the EPA, Ohio’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) has awarded more than $6 billion in below-market financing for sewage treatment plant upgrades and other water quality improvement projects since 1989. The program has reportedly saved borrowers more than $1.1 billion in interest.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.