Tuesday, December 5th, 2006
By Timothy Cox
New sewer system might help flush EPA pressure
Another rural county sewer system will be built sometime next year, which should ease pressure from the EPA for the county to provide sewer service to nearly 100 homes west of Celina.
The sewer extension would serve the Menchhofer Woods subdivision and a portion of Fleetfoot Road. EPA testing has shown signs of failing septic systems in the area and most of the properties are not large enough to comply with new state sewage rules that take effect next year.
Commissioners met with nearly 70 property owners last week and plan today to pass a final resolution of necessity to build the system. Construction will not move forward until officials determine whether they will receive a no-interest loan through the EPA. Residential user fees then would be used to retire the debt.
Residents at last week's meeting were told that - based on current estimates - they would pay about $49 per month toward debt retirement. Another $18 per month would cover the cost of providing sewer service. After 20 years, the debt would be paid off and rates would drop to whatever the current level is at that time.
Sewer bills will be mailed quarterly.
Residents also will be responsible for a one-time $600 tap-in fee and a $100 inspection fee.
County officials also told residents state law requires them to tap into a central sewer system when it is adjacent to their land. Residents will be responsible for hiring a plumbing contractor to tap their homes into the system and for properly draining and abandoning private septic tanks.
The estimated $1.3 million extension of sewer lines would serve the populated area along Fleetfoot Road between Mud Pike and state Route 29 and the Menchhofer Woods subdivision. The sewer lines would feed into the existing treatment facility at the county home, which might have to be expanded to accommodate the additional flow. Fleetfoot Road and Menchhofer Woods each would have their own pump stations to send sewage to the county home plant.
The new sewer system would not accommodate a proposed new Mercer County Jail, which county officials hope to build in the same neighborhood. The system would have to be expanded if voters approve a tax issue to build the jail. County commissioners expect to seek voter approval for a sales tax issue sometime next year.
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