Oregon City Council last Monday approved an ordinance authorizing the administrator to make applications for water pollution control loan funds with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA).
The funds will go toward Phase 2 of the city’s sanitary sewer rehabilitation project to ensure the structural integrity of existing sewers and remove groundwater infiltration from the sewer collection system.
The $2,337,289 project will be funded with a $450,000 grant and $450,000 no interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) and a $1,437,289 loan from the OEPA.
The OEPA has made funds available through a Water Pollution Control fund to provide financial assistance to communities needing such improvements.
“We’re going to be making some improvements with our wastewater treatment plant, and this is the start of that,” said Mayor Mike Seferian.
“We’ll be looking at our wastewater treatment plant a lot over the next couple of years,” said Administrator Mike Beazley. “This is just a first step for us in the public process of seeking loan applications to help fund ultimate solutions. This issue will be before us frequently over the next couple of years, but we do want to do everything we can to line up whatever state and federal dollars are available for the ultimate remedies. It is something that is going to take us considerable time and attention. I feel great about the work our public service department is doing on it. It’s something that is going to be an important issue for Oregon as we move forward.”
The sanitary sewer project, according to Public Service Director Paul Roman, is “really about repairing probably the oldest sewer system in Oregon.”
The project area is located along Wheeling Street, between Navarre Avenue and Bleeker Street; along Cresceus Road and Mambrino Road, between Navarre Avenue and Pickle Road; along Grasser Street, between Dearborn Avenue and Pickle Road; and along Pickle Road, between Grasser Street and Wheeling Street.
“It’s in the Cresceus Heights area. It’s a full replacement of the sanitary sewer,” said Roman. “I know if you drive on Mambrino, you see a lot of barrels over sinkholes. I think physically, the sewers in Cresceus Heights are literally falling apart. So this project will take care of that. And just as the mayor and Mr. Beazley pointed to, we will have other sewer rehab projects following this. All is an effort to rehabilitate.”
Phase I, completed about a year and a half ago, involved lining the city’s trunk sewers under streams and creeks, said Roman.
“We’re preparing for an NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit renewal, but at the same time we’re trying to stay ahead of the curve by trying to get as much I&I (Inflow/Infiltration) out of the system. Phase I really was intended just to remove infiltration that comes through the joints from creeks,” he said.
Inflow/Infiltration is used to describe the sources of storm water (rain and groundwater) that enter into the dedicated sanitary sewer system, according to Roman.
“We’ve also done a lot of manhole lining projects through the past two years. A lot of this goes to our credit when we go to the EPA to negotiate for a plant expansion,” he said. “We’re kind of ahead of the game. Our permit renewal is this July.”
The expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, he said, is much more expensive than the sewer rehabilitation project.
“I’ll definitely be reporting to council in the next few months to go over the wastewater treatment plant project as well as alternatives and the need to look at financing that project,” said Roman.