We hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and realize that most of you are getting ready to move into December and the upcoming Christmas season. Things have been progressing well as Choctaw Utilities (CU) continues to move forward with our plans to construct our new water plant next year. Here are a few of the many items we have been addressing the last 30-45 days:
WELL TESTING RESULTS
We concluded testing of our well pumps in October. This was requested by the EPA to test the viability of upgrading our water plant capacity from 400K gallons per day (GPD) to 550K GPD with the building of our new plant. Each well was tested at 150% of its rated capacity and the aquifer was monitored for unacceptable draw down. The testing was successful, and these results were sent to the EPA for their review. During these tests, we also conducted routine maintenance on well #1 (we have three wells) and put in larger motors on the other 2 wells. As we move forward with the new plant, it is good to know that we have three good, deep wells for our water production.
The CU board is very close to finalizing a contract to install approximately 17 new water hydrants at various points on our distribution system. We have been working at securing bids for the project, as well as working with the fire chief in London on the proper placement of these new hydrants. The primary purpose of these is to be able to adequately flush our distribution system several times a year. Currently, we only have two hydrants (1 on the east and 1 on the west side) and this does not allow us to flush and prevent the buildup of sediment on our distribution system. Yes, our water is very clean, but over time, sediment will inevitably build up and must be flushed out. This project has been blessed by the EPA and we hope to have these installed over the winter. We have specified the same brand and style of hydrant the city of London uses; we hope to also have these approved for fire suppression in the event of a structure fire.
The CU staff and several members of the CU board welcomed a group from the EPA at our water plant on November 17. This inspection and review of our operations was part of the Managerial review process of securing low-interest funding from the EPA. Senate Bill 2, which requires utilities to have a long-term plan by Oct 2018, was recently passed by the Ohio legislature. By the time we are ready to commence construction, rest assured CU will have been reviewed from top to bottom by multiple agencies. This review was part of that new process. The meeting went very well as they were impressed with our operations and plans for the new water plant.
Our engineering firm, MS Consultants, has submitted our General Plan to the EPA for their review. This suffices the Technical piece of the EPA review process. The purpose of the General Plan is so the EPA can broadly review the proposed plant. The EPA will review this plan and get back to us after the first of the year. With the General Plan approved the next step is moving into “Detail Design.” Detail Design is where we will hire an engineering firm to provide the blueprints of the actual plant.
MADISON COUNTY/CLPOA MEETING
At the request of a few CLPOA trustees and Madison County, several members of the CU board attended a meeting to hear a presentation from Madison County about the possibility of supplying bulk water to the Choctaw Lake community. Here is a report of the meeting, as submitted by Scott Kutzley, member of both the CU and CLPOA board:
“On Tuesday evening, 11/21/17, thirteen members of the CLPOA board of trustees, the CU board of directors, and our lake manager met with three Madison County representatives. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the proposed county water treatment plant, the potential for the Choctaw Lake community to obtain water from the County, and the concern that County has for copper entering the waste water treatment plant from our community.
The County believes that they are close to an agreement with the State of Ohio to take over management and upgrades to the existing water treatment plant at the prison complex. Their intent is to sign a long term lease with the State and purchase the plant from the State within a year or two.
The primary initial goal of the County is to run water to the route 42 and interstate 70 area to promote development. They are not focused on adding Choctaw Lake to their new distribution system but it would help their economic model to add the revenue that would be associated with our community. With county water available at Choctaw Lake, the county stated they would be willing to sell to surrounding areas and promote development.
If Choctaw Lake does not join their water system, the new water main will run along route 38 and go east on route 40 toward route 42. This route would then bypass both Choctaw Lake and Somerford and would inhibit growth and development in our vicinity. If Choctaw Lake does join their new water system, the new water main would run along 56 to Old Columbus Road, and also go east along route 40 toward the route 42 area.
The County believes that they will be able to supply water through their new distribution system within 18 to 24 months. Their preliminary estimate to supply bulk rate water to our community is $48 per household, per month. The County will not incorporate our water distribution system into their system, so CU would still be required to maintain billing services and maintenance of the CU properties and water distribution piping, valves and water towers. CU believes it would cost the homeowner about $12 per month to continue the billing and water distribution services, so the total monthly bill would be approximately $48 plus $12= $60, or $180 per quarter.
CU believes that if we install a new water treatment plant adjacent to our existing plant, our monthly water bill will go from $30 to approximately $40 per month. Although the County would supply softened water, which CU does currently not offer, CU believes that a new water softening system is feasible and would add about $8 per month, per household. So if water softening is added to the new water treatment plant the total monthly bill would be approximately $48, or $144 per quarter. Without the addition of a water softening system, the CU rate would be $30 plus $10= $40 per month, or $120 per quarter.
WATER SOFTENER CAMPAIGN
To help with the copper issues at the sewer plant, CU is looking to train a network of volunteers to help “tune” personal water softeners. Your softener will soften the water to 0 grains of hardness, which could be a contributor to high copper levels. We need your softener set to 7 grains, which is the optimal level for copper corrosion control. The CU volunteer will make a slight adjustment to the bypass valve, thus blending the output water to 7 grains. If you are interested in helping, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our timeline is to complete engineering / bid specs in the next few months and move the project out for bid in early 2018. Following the bid process, we intend to select our contractor and hope to begin the construction process in early summer 2018. This timeline is subject to change at any time.
We will be continuing the posting of monthly updates on our website in an attempt to keep the Choctaw Lake community updated on the progress of our new water plant. Please feel free to contact any of your board members if you have any questions.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the lodge. Everyone is welcome to attend.
A downloadable and printable 2017 11 CU Plant Update