“It will affect Minford, Muletown, Clarktown and Rubyville, and some residents on Lucasville-Minford Road,” Lebrun said.
Lebrun said the funding is provided by a $10 million grant and a $20 million low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture.
“Our application is going through the final stages with the USDA Rural Development for them to give us the official notification if the project is going to be funded,” Lebrun said. “We are confident we are going to get the funding, but we are not overly confident. We don’t have it in writing, so it isn’t official. We feel comfortable with the reports we’re getting from Rural Development.”
Lebrun said notification was made by a letter to residents of those communities, telling them if they fall within the boundaries of the project, they will have to hook into the system once it is completed.
“I object to the fact that nobody out here knows what this is,” Minford Resident Joyce White said. “When I went down originally, I was told by the sanitary engineer, and then later by Mr. (Scioto County Commissioner Tom) Reiser that they had a meeting and no one came. The only way someone would have known there was a meeting was a 441-word legal notice (in the newspaper). Absolutely no one that I know of has been told what this project is going to consist of, nor what it is going to cost.”
The letter provided by Lebrun opens with — “Scioto County is presently making plans to construct sanitary sewers in your neighborhood ...”
“If the residence is capable of being served by the sewer system, they will have to connect to the sewer, as outlined in the letter we sent out earlier,” Lebrun said. “So they will have to connect their house to the system, and then their septic tank or whatever they have; the state law requires that it be crushed.”
Lebrun said there is a standard tap fee of $450 and that fee can be paid in a lump sum or at the rate of $25 per month in 2010.
White said it is going to cost people several thousand dollars to hook up.
“The fact is, according to Mr. Darren Lebrun, they are going to put laterals to the edge of the easement. Most people, with septic tanks out here, they drain to the back. Those pipes in the house are going to have to be changed. Or they are going to have to hire a contractor, or do it themselves, and most of us are not equipped to trench. They are going to have to go out the back of their house, across the back and down the side to the lateral and hook up. That is at your expense,” White said.
Lebrun said the current regulations on septic tanks are not being completely enforced, but he forsees more strict enforcement of the regulations to be coming as well as more regulations. Lebrun said compliance with the regulations could cost homeowners as much as $15,000 to meet the qualifications, which he says will cost homeowners more than tapping into the sewer system.
“Or in some cases, if the lot is small enough and there is nowhere to put it, about the only option that is left is that the home gets condemned,” Lebrun said. “That’s not here now, but it’s coming. In some case it is here, but the enforcement is only going to get tougher.”
Lebrun talked about the schedule for the project once funding is completely approved.
“We’re going to be in design the entire part of next year, and we plan to bid it out and if we get all of our permits and everything, including the funding, we will be under construction in 2011, and we hope to complete it in 2012,” Lebrun said. “So the hookups will be toward the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. That’s the tentative schedule.”
Lebrun said the $450 fee is the only charge by the county, and that, in some cases, assistance will be provided.
“There are no special assessments or anything like that. The (Scioto County) Commissioners are working hard to provide funding for low-to-moderate income assistance for hooking up and running the lateral from their house to the sewer line and crushing their septic tank,” Lebrun said. “We feel confident that we will have the funds to assist the low-income folks.”
Lebrun said the system will assist with the needs once the scheduled Portsmouth Bypass Project is completed as well.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.