City sending letters about sewer systemPublished 9:22am Friday, January 4, 2013
Residents must separate storm system
Some Ironton residents may need to be on the lookout for a letter from the city requiring them to keep storm water out of the sewer system.
Since the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited Ironton’s combined storm water and sewer systems in 2009, the city has been in the process of a separation project. The requirements made by the EPA are unfunded, meaning the federal and state governments are not required to pay for the improvements.
To help pay for the project, the city previously included a storm utility fee of $2 on each residents water bill. More than half a million in state funds were also received for the project.
Part of the project included a smoke test in the fall of 2010 to detect locations where storm water was entering the sewer system. The tests were performed throughout the last couple of years.
Mayor Rich Blankenship said there were 486 residences in the city that have storm water connected to the sewer system. He also said all the tests couldn’t be performed all at once due to the daily needs of the city and the other phases of the separation project.
“As a result of the unfunded mandate, the city is required to notify the citizens of issues pertaining to their properties,” Blankenship said in a letter to The Tribune. “Therefore, the city is issuing letters to these addresses which are in question. Once the citizen has received the letter, they will be given 60 days to correct the necessary problem and notify the city of the correction completed so we will have a record of those who have complied.”
Phase 1 of the project, which included the north end of Ironton, was recently completed.
With the completion of the first phase, those residents in the north end of town now have a way to separate their storm water from the sewer.
“Everybody has a place for it to go,” Blankenship said. “Before, they didn’t. Whether it be the street for now. We’ll work with the citizens in order to get it corrected.”
Blankenship said crews will work to add more storm drains in the street in the future.
The next phase is set to begin in July and includes the North Fifth and Elm streets area.
Phase 3 is in the south end of town; phase 4 is in the middle area of town and the immediate downtown is the final phase of the project.
The project must be completed by 2025.