Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
By Shelley Grieshop
County launches another central sewer project
  NEPTUNE - County officials have begun preliminary work toward a $1.6 million sanitary sewer system in the village of Neptune.  
Commissioners Tuesday penned a letter of intent to contract with Fanning Howey Associates of Celina for the design phase of the project that involves approximately 75 dwellings in the unincorporated community. The new system will replace homeowners' septic systems.
Michelle Kimmel, a sanitarian with the Mercer County-Celina City Health Department, said the agency in recent years investigated several complaints about a tile, which receives flow from septic systems, that runs beneath state Route 197. The tile backed up onto one homeowner's property.
"It's nothing immediate, but we've had complaints," she said.
The Ohio EPA has not cited the county for any wastewater violations in Neptune, but officials believe the "Northeast Sanitary Sewer System" is necessary.
Kimmel said the county has been proactive the last few decades by giving rural homeowners the ability to tap into central sewer systems that replace inefficient septic systems. The result is cleaner watersheds and waterways, officials noted.
"When you look at the big picture, we're doing a really good job," she said.
The county recently completed a sewer system project in Marion Township and is working toward a second phase to include communities such as St. Rose and Cassella. Other unincorporated areas under consideration for central sewer system projects are St. Anthony, Wabash, Chattanooga, Macedon and Philothea.
The design work for the Neptune project won't begin until 2012, project engineer Brice Schmitmeyer said. An exact timeline has not been set.
"Construction will depend on when funding is secured," he said. "In order to secure some specific funding programs, design must be complete and a permit to install needs to be issued by Ohio EPA."
Commissioners began planning for the sewer system several years ago. In June 2007, they obtained a low-interest $52,500 planning loan through the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA). They are in the process of applying for a second OWDA loan to fund the design work and will seek state and federal money to make the project feasible, Schmitmeyer said.   
Homeowners typically pay fees to tap into the central system and to pay off any construction debt.
Commissioner Bob Nuding said the county continues to seek property to locate the sewer system and lagoons that will be needed.
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