No matter what projects Fayette village council members tackle, no matter which way they turn, there’s always the $8 million question sitting in the background.
It’s something village administrator Tom Spiess mentions often, just to keep it fresh in the minds of council members. Eventually, the group will have to deal with sewer issues that are likely to grow more expensive as the years go by.
Spiess told councilors at the Aug. 1 meeting that a proposed long-term plan with the Ohio EPA calls for a reduction in the number of overflows into Spring Creek. By the year 2028, the amount of liquid passing through the sewage system must be reduced so that no more than four overflow events transpire in a single year.
Fayette’s sewer system is designed so that heavy precipitation causes an overflow into the creek, but the Ohio EPA wants fewer of them to occur.
The existing lagoon system can’t handle the volume of waste when storm water combines with septic waste. An effort to separate those two systems began years ago and now covers certain parts of the village. To complete the separation project, an estimated $4.2 million is needed.
RATES—Spiess said council should use every state and federal grant available, along with no-interest loans, but that’s not all. He believes council must also study the operational costs of the water and sewer system to make sure that rates cover personnel and chemicals.
Currently, he said, fees charged to customers don’t cover the cost of providing the service and money has to be taken out of the already-challenged general fund.
A new industrial customer with large water needs would lead to a good solution to the problem, Spiess said, but that’s not possible until the sewage system is replaced. The existing lagoon system could not handle an increase in use.