Infrastructure & Services

Village Council—Needed repairs to water lines will add cost

The Village needs to plan on adding an additional $1.6 million onto the final cost of either purchasing drinking water from Springfield or building a new water plant, consulting engineer John Eastman told Council at its May 20 meeting. The added cost is the amount needed to fix two critical problems in the Village water distribution system, which are needed whether or not the Village sources drinking water from Springfield. The repairs are necessary because currently the Village has limited ability to fight fires in some parts of town, according to John Eastman of the firm LJB.

“There’s no problem with day-in, day-out water use, but the system limits fire flows,” Eastman said.

Eastman’s talk was the seventh discussion on whether to source Springfield water or rebuild the Village’s own water plant. Council will continue the water sourcing discussion at its June 3 meeting.

The Village’s current water distribution system was built by Antioch College in the 1920s and later sold to the Village. While the distribution system has been upgraded at various times to accomodate growth, some of the original pipes remain in areas where water lines connect, including in the “bottleneck” area around Xenia Avenue and Herman Street and a second area at Livermore and Corry streets. Because the two connector areas include pipes that are far smaller than pipes generally used today, the Village’s ability to fight fires downtown, on the Antioch College campus and in the south of town is compromised, Eastman said.

The cost of fixing the Xenia Avenue bottleneck is estimated at about $967,000 and the cost of repairing the Livermore connector is about $692,000, or about $1.6 million in all.

The cost of sourcing water from Springfield — which requires building a new water line from the intersection of Corry and Xenia Avenue to the Clark County line — will be about $1.9 million, for a total cost to the Village, with the water line repairs, of about $3.5 million, according to Eastman.

The cost of constructing a new water plant in Yellow Springs with the ability to provide softened water would be about $3.9 million, according to a report from Village Manager Laura Curliss. Combined with the cost of the water distribution repairs, the total cost of that option would be about $5.5 million, about $1.3 million more than the Springfield option, Curliss wrote.

At the May 20 meeting, Ed Kidston of Artesian of Pioneer, Ohio, (AOP) a company that constructs water plants, urged Council to build a new plant in order to keep control of its water. Kidston had also attended Council’s May 6 meeting, where he proposed that his company would build the Village a new plant, with no upfront cost to the Village, because AOP would own the plant and sell the water to the Village. However, while AOP would own the local plant, the Village would have total control over water rates, water quality and the level of water softening, Kidston said at the May 20 meeting. He stated his company would sell the Village water initially at $2.35 per 1,000 gallons, and the amount would not exceed $2.50 per 1,000 gallons in the 10 years of the contract, an amount comparable to what Springfield would charge. The Village could choose to purchase the plant at the end of the 10 year contract, or at any time during the contract, Kidston said in an interview this week.

“We’re very flexible. We want to work with you,” Kidston said.

In other Council business:

• Council unanimously agreed to approve a waiver of a tap-in fee for Antioch College. The fee is for a new fire sprinkler line and water line for the upgraded Curl gym and fitness center, an upcoming construction project that aims to benefit both the college and the community, according to Reggie Stratton, college facilities manager.

According to Curliss, the cost of the fee that would be waived is about $12,500. While Karen Wintrow expressed concern about the current low balance in the water fund, she said that she agrees that it’s a good idea for the Village to use utility fee waivers to encourage economic development, and other Council members agreed.

“It’s a great opportunity to partner with the college,” Rick Walkey said. “The entire community will benefit.”

• Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, to continue discussion on the revised zoning code, in Council chambers.

• Council’s next regular meeting will take place Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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