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What’s the best water option for the Village?

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Village Council wants to hear from community members regarding whether the Village should upgrade its current water plant or purchase water from Springfield.

“I don’t think we should do further study until we hear from citizens who are keeping an eye on our water,” Council President Judith Hempfling said at Council’s Dec. 5 meeting.

At issue is how best to move forward in the face of the Village’s deteriorating water plant, which was constructed in 1964 and needs significant upgrades in order to stay current with EPA regulations, according to consulting engineer John Eastman. Council has had discussions over the past few months on the water situation, and in October heard from Eastman regarding its options. He presented seven options, ranging from doing nothing to purchasing water from other municipalities, including Springfield, Xenia and Greene County. Council then asked Eastman to return with a cost comparative study, which he presented on Dec. 5.

After talking with Springfield, Xenia and Greene County officials, Eastman narrowed the field to the two most favorable options, which are upgrading the current plant or purchasing water from Springfield. While upgrading the local plant is the least expensive option, there’s a trade-off because the Springfield water is better, he said.

“There’s a significant difference in water quality between what’s available in Springfield and the other sources, including Yellow Springs,” Eastman said.

Specifically, Springfield offers water that is softened, unlike the hard water in Yellow Springs. And the process that Springfield uses for treating its water does not add salt, a health concern for some people. That process, which uses lime, is one that works for larger municipalities but not for small ones, Eastman said.

It’s possible that using the softened Springfield water could help attract some businesses to the village, according to villager Ellen Hoover of the Economic Sustainability Commission, who was past development director in Springfield.

But upgrading the local plant would cost less. Specifically, the estimated total annual cost to the Village of upgrading its plant is about $318,519, compared to $326,888 for purchasing Springfield water. The cost of purchasing Xenia water would be more expensive because Xenia was not willing to extend its pipes toward Yellow Springs, while Springfield was willing to do so, Eastman said. The total cost per 1,000 gallons for upgrading the local system is $3.66, compared to about $4.82 for purchasing Springfield water. However, that cost difference could eventually lessen, as after the Village pays for extending pipes to the Clark County line, it would likely have no more expenses regarding purchasing water from Springfield, while upgrading the local plant would involve ongoing maintenance costs, Eastman said.

Most Council members indicated their preference for upgrading the local plant, both for fiscal reasons and to keep local control of water. Villagers should also be aware that after a plant upgrade, the local water quality would be improved, Rick Walkey said.

The next steps on the water issue involve conducting a more detailed engineering study, which will cost the Village about $15,000, and looking into funding sources.

However, Council members stated they hope to hear from villagers regarding their preference before moving forward.

Further items from Council’s Dec. 5 business will apear in next week’s News.


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