• 54°

Council moves to improve water system

Improvements to the city's water system are in the works as the Ironton City Council passed legislation Thursday that could allow the city to replace its current deteriorating water storage tank.

Council adopted a resolution to allow Mayor Bob Cleary to apply for funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission's State Capital Improvement and Local Transportation Improvement Programs.

The city will apply for $600,000 in Issue Two funds to make major improvements to the water tank storage system. Half the funds would be a grant and the other half would be a zero-percent 20-year loan, said Ralph Kline, community development director for the Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

Applications are due by Oct. 4. If they receive the funds, the city will be notified by January or February and could award bids beginning July 1, 2003, Kline said.

These funds would be used with $300,000 in Empowerment Zone funds and other monies to finance the $1.5 million phase one project that will install a 2 million gallon tank located on Nixon Hill, east of State Route 93 and north of U.S. 52, City Engineer Joe McCallister said.

Problems with the current reservoir were detected two or three years ago and the city has done as much temporary patching as they can do, McCallister said.

"It is imperative that we do something fairly fast," he said.

If the tank was to fail, some areas in the city would be out of water for a couple days, water pressure would be low, the city would have to issue boil water advisories and some areas could be out of water indefinitely until the tank was replaced, McCallister said.

"It would be a very bad situation," he said. "The hope is we can get this new tank and we will not have to spend anymore on the old one."

Overall, the three-phase project will cost about $3 million dollars and will construct three water tanks to replace the existing one. Phases one and two could be completed by the end of 2003 and phase three sometime in 2004, McCallister said.

A 300,000-gallon tank will be installed in the north end of Ironton in phase two and a one million gallon tank will be built in the south end for phase three. Exact locations for the tanks are still being examined, McCallister said.

Phase two will cost approximately $600,000. Funding from Community Development Block Grants, Empowerment Zone funding, ARC Grants and Issue Two funds could be used to finance phases two and three, Kline said.

Council also passed an ordinance that authorized Cleary to award a bid of $11,817 to The C.I. Thornburg Company Inc., Huntington, W.Va., to upgrade instrumentation at the city's water treatment plant that will allow more accurate and effective operation and record keeping.

"We were dealing with antiquated instruments," he said. "It will all be computerized and much more accurate."

Despite being the only bid received, it was less than expected.

C.I. Thornburg is a reputable company that the city has worked with many times before, Cleary said.

Council agreed that the instrumentation is much needed.

"The Environmental Protection Agency has requested this for awhile and it will really help the plant," Councilman Richard Price said.