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MILLERSBURG -- Bringing plans to expand the Mount Hope wastewater treatment plant a little closer to reality, the Holmes County commissioners on Monday, Feb. 20, signed a grant agreement with the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The grant will provide $200,000 of the total cost of the project, estimated at nearly $2 million.
The Ohio Public Works Commission, with a $496,500 grant and a $1.2 million no-interest loan, along with a local match of $100,000 will complete funding for the project, according to Holmes County Engineer Chris Young.
For $13,000 per acre, the commissioners purchase 2.7 acres along Salt Creek Township Road 617 from Andy and Linda Mast a year ago.
The purchased land is adjacent to the existing facility, which was initially constructed by Wayne Dalton, which later transferred to ownership to the county.
Currently, the plant is operating at capacity and there are times when wastewater coming into the facility must be transported to the Berlin facility for treatment, said Young.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency previously has granted permission to expand, a relief to the commissioners who said they were concerned the request may not be granted, requiring the construction of an entirely new plant at a different location, according to Commissioner Joe Miller.
The plan is to increase capacity at the plant from 22,000 gallons per day to 100,000 gallons per day. This, Young said, will open the door to future economic development in the area. Additionally, the project will allow for further expansion, to 200,000, contingent on EPA approval.
The project will include a move from sand filters, which can freeze in cold weather, to disc filters like those recently installed at the Berlin plant, said Young.
Access and user fees, to be paid by current and future customers will provide funding to repay the loan.
The existing system serves 21 businesses and seven homes.
Business creation and expansion will be permitted once the project is completed, according to Young, noting, following discussion with several area business owners, it is anticipated the project will directly result in the creation of 23 full-time and 50 part-time jobs from related business expansions.
Additional plans for expansion, not yet public, have the potential to create many more jobs, said Young, citing not only the need to serve existing customers, but affect the economic development of the area.
Young said he hopes to have the project out to bid in May, with a contract awarded and work commencing in July. He said he anticipates completion in spring 2018.
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.