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Ironton City Council to decide on CSO fee

Some city leaders have called it the biggest decision Ironton City Council has faced in years.

Months of discussion and research will come to a head Thursday when the council considers the final reading of law that would create a fee system to fund the Environmental Protection Agency's mandated Combined Sewer Overflow plan and the program to maintain and improve the city's stormwater system.

Council meets at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Ironton City Center at Third and Vernon streets.

The potential fee could cost residents $14.55 per month and some businesses as much as several thousand dollars monthly.

The goal of the CSO plan is to determine the volume of pollutants that go into the Ohio River and to minimize untreated discharges.

Ironton has three types of sewer lines in the city - storm sewer lines that discharge directly to the river, sanitary sewer lines that go to the treatment plant and combination sanitary waste/stormwater drains. Keeping the two flows separate is the problem and often results in untreated waste water going into the river.

Creating the plan will cost the city approximately $860,000. Actually implementing the plan and making extensive changes in the stormwater and sewer system could cost the city $20 million over the next 20 years. The fee is projected to generate $1.25 million a year but that takes into account some monies that will not be able to be collected.

As proposed, the fee structure will cost residential property owners $14.55 per month initially, but commercial and industrial companies will have higher bills. The cost is determined by the square footage of runoff surface - roof, parking lot, blacktop - a property includes.

City engineer Phil Biggs said that the city will look at ways to evaluate property more thoroughly on an individual basis.