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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Flooded out in Oak Harbor recently? Here’s a chance to speak your mind.

Engineers from Jones & Henry Engineering Toledo office are gathering flooding data from 5-8 p.m., March 13 at Eagle’s Nest Community Hall, 210 Jefferson St., in the village.

The engineers are collecting information that’ll be used to persuade the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to approve a short-term solution to the village’s flooding woes related to its combined sewer overflow system.

Flooding has intensified over the last two and half years in the wake of problems with the village’s new overflow pond. Village officials hope to get permission soon to open a regulator at Portage Street as well as three or four other sites to relieve stress on the system during heavy rainfalls.

The damages to local homes that endanger both health and personal property are likely the key to securing that request to modify the village’s current permit, Dan Miller, a Jones and Henry representative told village council earlier this month.

The public meeting will include stations for engineers to meet individually with residents, interim village administrator Randy Genzman said.

“I want the engineers to be able to concentrate on the residents and the residents to concentrate on the engineers,” he said.

Residents can expect to fill out forms that will ask for name, address, flooding dates, flooding damages and bills incurred.

Genzman and wastewater system superintendent Jerry Neff met with Jones & Henry engineers Feb. 27 to discuss proposed solutions, Genzman said.

Councilman Jon Fickert wanted to know if the people who had contacted the village about flooding had been personally sent a letter about the meeting. Genzman said they had not but said notices had been sent to all area media about the meeting.

Fickert still asked that those people be notified. Genzman agreed to do so.

But Sue Rahm said she was aware of a lot more people who had flooding issues – from minor difficulties to major issues – who had not come forward publicly.

She said she hoped those people would take the time to get their stories on record to help their cause as well as that of their neighbors.

Genzman said he will contact the Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering Department, which has an employee assigned to inflow and infiltration detection, to set up detection points along the possible troubled line sections.

Genzman said his current focus is to determine what the construction costs would be to open the long closed line.

Rahm asked if work could be done in-house to cut expenses.

“We don’t have equipment that goes that deep,” Genzman said, noting crews could have to dig as far as 26 feet to complete the project. While village crews likely had the expertise, renting the equipment would be very expensive.

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