Officials in Wood and Ottawa counties have approved funding a study to determine if it’s viable to link their water distribution systems, which would provide Wood County’s Northwestern Water and Sewer District with another source for purchasing water.
Trustees of the Northwestern district and the Ottawa County commissioners Thursday approved funding the study.
Jerry Greiner, the district’s executive director, estimated the study cost at $18,750. He said Wood County will pay for two-thirds of the cost.
“The idea is to try to determine what points it would make sense to take water from, what would be available for us and what amounts. Do we come through Elmore or some alternative route?” Greiner said. “Ottawa County did a water distribution study in 2002 they think would be helpful in addressing those types of questions.”
The Northwest district purchases water from the cities of Toledo and Oregon and serves about 20,000 customers
Wood County officials last November spent a day touring water distribution facilities in Ottawa County, including the county regional system, the Carroll Township Water and Sewer District, and the system at Lake Erie Business Park.
At the time officials from both counties described the visit as only a “preliminary step” in what could be a joint project.
Northwestern district trustees John Cheney, Alex Molnar, and Lyle Schulte were joined by Tim Brown, a Wood County commissioner, and Greiner on the tour of the Ottawa County facilities.
Ottawa County Commissioner Steve Arndt, who met with the Wood County group on the tour, said at the time Ottawa County was willing to consider linking its distribution system with the Wood County district. One advantage for Ottawa County in a joint project, he said, is that having more users would help to keep costs down for customers.
On Thursday, he said the commissioners agreed the project could make sense financially for the county.
“The more you start to add more partners, the more you see costs begin to come down significantly,” Arndt said.
Greiner said one option that’s been discussed is for Ottawa County to bring a line to the counties’ border along Fostoria Road, where Wood County already has lines, but the question of how far north in Wood County the systems should be linked needs to be addressed.
The Ottawa County system extends as far west as the Brush Wellman plant outside the Village of Elmore and has more capacity than the Carroll Township or the Lake Erie Business Park systems.
The commissioners agreed Thursday to authorize funding for the study after hearing a presentation by Kelly Frey, Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer, and Gino Monaco, administrator for the sanitary engineer’s office.
Ottawa County in the late 1990s completed construction of its system. In 2005, the system’s treatment plant was expanded to a capacity of 9 million gallons per day. The transmission system serves the City of Port Clinton and Village of Oak Harbor and distributes water to customers in Bay, Catawba, Danbury, Erie, Harris, Portage and Salem townships,
The Carroll Township district includes a treatment plant with a design capacity of 1 million gallons per day, a buried intake structure in Lake Erie, a raw water pump station, and a 500,000-gallon elevated water tank.
Greiner last week said he met again in April with board members of the Carroll Township district.