Fayette village council members face a big decision Sept. 27, a decision that could determine how the village approaches the next 20 years of working with the Ohio EPA regarding sewer issues.
“This is the most important decision you’ll make in a long time,” village administrator Tom Spiess told councilors at last Thursday’s meeting.
At the next meeting, council must decide on a plan to submit to the Ohio EPA to begin negotiations. This would cover the scope of the project and the sequence of work.
The Ohio EPA has given the village 20 years to reduce overflows to four a year. Overflows occur when precipitation causes the combined septic/storm water system to spill into a tributary of Deer Creek.
The system is designed to overflow after heavy rain events, Spiess said, but separating the storm water from the septic waste will reduce the number of spills.
A preferred plan needs to be distilled down to a document ready for submission to the Ohio EPA and a public hearing will be scheduled in November.
The project shouldn’t be a shock to people if they’ve read the newspapers, Spiess said, and if council members have discussed the issue with residents.
Options could include continuing the effort to separate storm water from septic waste (sewer separation) one small segment at a time or jumping into larger projects.
The village must negotiate with the Ohio EPA about an acceptable plan, Spiess noted, adding that the agency might not approve council’s preferred plan.
The decision facing council isn’t about cost, he said, because that should remain similar with any approach—an estimated $4.2 million. Instead, council has to decide how it wants to get the job done.