Village council in Oak Harbor has selected a new engineering firm to help the village fix its sewer system overflow problems.
At a special meeting, council voted unanimously to hire Jones & Henry Engineers Ltd. for its environmental needs regarding the sewer system, councilman Jon Fickert said. The company has offices in both Toledo and Cincinnati.
Council then directed Administrator Robert Pauley to negotiate a contract with the firm.
The decision to hire Jones & Henry came after the utilities committee interviewed four candidates the day before. In all, 10 companies had submitted proposals.
The village ousted its former consultant on the project, Poggemeyer Design Group, because of problems developing in a system the firm helped create.
More than a year ago, the village had to replace a flawed overflow pond designed by Poggemeyer that deteriorated. The persistent overflow issues came to a climax this spring and summer after heavy rains resulted in flooding in some homes throughout the village. Angry residents filled council chambers several times.
The village has requests pending with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding the opening of a combined sewer overflow valve to relieve the stress. However, the EPA will not review the request until the village has an engineering firm in place to lead the review, according to Mayor Bill Eberle.
Fickert said he backed hiring Jones & Henry because the company’s proposal offered other possible solutions to the sewer problem.
They were not just looking at the pending sewer overflow request, Fickert said. The firm suggested asking the EPA for permission to open a number of other overflow sites to get the situation under control. Then as they analyzed the problem more intensely, the village could slowly shut down sites that didn’t need to stay open.