BOC looking at county-wide sewers

A county-wide sewer system could be in the future for Adams County if officials determine it feasible to construct and implement.

The Adams County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 10 with the Director of the Adams County Economic and Community Development Department, Holly Johnson and West Union Village Adminstrator Jerry Kirker.

Adams County received a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency that highlighted 11 areas that the board said they need to begin looking at installing sewer systems into.

“They told us we need to start planning how we’re going to mitigate the effects of these systems in those 11 areas,” Adams County Commissioner Paul Worley said.

The board is setting up meetings with local villages and township boards to determine if a county-wide sewer project is something that could be done.

“We’re looking at the feasibility of a county-wide sewer system,” Worley said. “There are many other areas in the county that need sewer infrastructure but among the many issues is how to pay for it.”

Worley said he wants to limit a high debt service to the county or high costs for users of sewer systems.

“Typically you pay for [a sewer system] with user fees, but when you have a small population and you have a project that is a million dollars, if there’s only 30 people paying on that then that could lead to a high debt service or user fees for that service,” Worley said. “The more people you have on a system the more you can spread that cost which makes it more feasible to do that.”

The initial meeting on Monday had Johnson and Kirker asking the board for permission to pursue a grant to help offset the costs of putting sewer systems in the areas of Crackle, Gabberts and Hale.

“To get the sewer out into the unincorporated parts of the county they have to get our permission,” Worley said. “So that’s what they were asking for. In order to apply for the grant money that would aid them we have to bless off on it. But they are the ones putting together that package. The questions we were asking were ‘What part are we responsible for?’ ‘What parts are the village responsible for?’ ‘Who’s paying for what?’ ‘Who’s maintaining what?’”

Worley wished to stress that this process is in its infancy and that much study and further questions need to be asked before any type of construction is done.

“We hope to get more concrete information to see what a deal could look like,” Worley said. “This needs to be studied further. We’ll do our homework in the meantime and generate our questions.”

Adams County already has in place the Adams County Regional Water District and if it were determined feasible to have a similar system for sewers, Worley said the ACRWD would be a good model to follow.

“I think that would be a good model if we found out it was feasible for a county wide sewer system,” Worley said. “I mean there’s a lot of things between now and then but for me that’s a thing we need to look at.”

Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391, cgrove@civitasmedia.com or @WUDefender on Twitter.

By Charles Grove

cgrove@civitasmedia.com