Officials meet to discuss EPA suit

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By AMY GAREIS
News-Herald Staff Writer
CADIZ – County and village officials were meeting with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for talks regarding a $40,000 fine for non-compliance.
Cadiz Water/Wastewater Superintendent Tom Carter told village Board of Public Affairs members Tuesday that a meeting was set to discuss the OEPA’s administrative suit and the potential fine Cadiz faces for not complying with sewer issues. Harrison County Engineer Rob Sterling was expected to participate and discuss the proposed alternative facility that would convert wastewater algae into biodiesel. The plan intends to divert wastewater from two-thirds of Cadiz’s sewer lines and help alleviate stress on the antiquated system.
“The village and county is meeting in Logan on the 18th to go over the project,” Carter said, later telling the News-Herald the purpose was to put leaders on the same page.
Under the administrative suit, the EPA could set a schedule and the village must either negotiate and/or comply with the order. Currently, the fine was given at $40,000 but officials hoped to eliminate the civil penalty completely. A Jan. 22 date had been set for Cadiz to respond, but a series of conflicts occurred and Village Solicitor Costa Mastros received an extension.
Last year, the board shelved plans to hire an engineer for the estimated multimillion-dollar overhaul until they received a timeline to upgrade the aging system. The ongoing sewer project would involve updating decades-old trunklines and making other improvements to cease overflow problems at the sewer treatment plant. However, Sterling proposed to reduce problems by diverting most of the wastewater at the south and central trunklines to a new $6 million facility and convert the algae into biodiesel. The village and county entered into the joint venture, which is expected to fuel county government vehicles and be sold on an open market.
There had been a glitch over the land ownership since the proposed plant was eyed at former Consolidation Coal Co. property, causing county commissioners to reject bids for materials for construction because Sterling said the matter held up the selection and ultimately would impact costs. The project required possession of the property and a portion of it was still under a reclamation bond, but the state was assisting with a resolution. Commissioners opted to rebid after it was settled.
Meanwhile, BPA member Dwight Cunningham suggested that Carter ask about stimulus funds that could possibly be used for the project.
In other business, the BPA:
* Approved raising the hourly rate of David Barr, chief operator (certified), to $12.61 and Roy Moore, meter reader/plant operator, to $11.93 to meet EPA compliance retroactive to Jan. 18;
* Discussed the status of the Jamison Avenue Waterline project. Carter said most of the $240,000 cost was obtained through grants and the remainder was being paid through a Cadiz Community Improvement Corp. loan;
* Discussed a proposal from Demand Response Partners (DRP) Energy Monitoring System of Williamsville, N.Y., to help gage energy savings by utilizing generators during peak electric hours. Officials said it could cut costs, but the Feb. 28 deadline to sign up was not enough time to decide and they opted to review it for next year.
Look for the latest news coverage of the meeting between village officials and the Ohio EPA in the next edition of the Harrison News-Herald.

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