SALINEVILLE - A joint committee made up of Village Council and Board of Public Affairs members met with representatives from the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) Monday to explore options for funding repairs to the village wastewater treatment plant.
RCAP is a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations that works with small towns and rural communities to ensure that citizens have access to safe water and wastewater disposal services.
In February, village officials received a letter from the Ohio EPA detailing multiple mechanical issues at the plant.
Committee members and RCAP officials discussed options to fund the pricey repairs needed to be in compliance with EPA standards. The top priority for committee members was to repair parts of the plant which the EPA had cited in its report. Committee members agreed that the first step was to gather quotes for major broken parts such as the grinder pump and diffusers.
"Right now we just want to get the plant in compliance so the EPA doesn't fine us," said Councilman Brian Zaverl.
RCAP representatives said a number of low interest loans are available to cover the cost of the repairs. Zaverl said the committee also plans to consider installing a certain kind of pump at the plant which would earn the village a reimbursement from the power company which could cover the loans' payments.
"If we upgrade (the pumps) we'd get approximately $15,000 rebate from AEP and that will pretty much make our loan payments," said Zaverl.
Zaverl said the long-term goal of the committee is to upgrade the larger, more expensive parts of the plant using grant money. Zaverl noted that making these long-term upgrades and acquiring the grants needed to make them could take up to two years.
During the regular meeting of the council later that day, council voted to use excess money from waste water treatment plant bond debt fund to repair parts of the plant that need the most urgent attention.
To get the excess money, council members voted to cut the village contribution to the fund to just enough to maintain the fund status. Previously the village had stayed a whole payment ahead on their payments to the fund. The move will free up about $30,000 for the village to use for repairs.
"As long as we have the payment in there, anything over or above that we can use," said Zaverl.