Coal Grove water rates increasing

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

COAL GROVE — Local residents will pay a little more on their monthly water bill come October.

At the recent village council meeting, members voted for the water rate increase because it was the only way to raise government funds to get a water filtration system.

The village applied for a $272,000 community development block grant from the Ohio Department of Development to put in two air strippers on the water plant.

Email newsletter signup

“We hope to know within 60 days if we qualify,” billage clerk-treasurer Debbie Fields said. “But they have a guideline where your rates have to be 2 percent of your median household income. According to their (ODOD’s) calculations our rates weren’t high enough so they wouldn’t even look at our application.”

She added that the council tried to raise the water rates as little as possible to fall in those guidelines.

The 80 cents per thousand gallon of water used goes into effect on Sept. 1, but citizens won’t see the increase until their October bill. County customers will see the 80-cent increase on their water bill and village residents will see a 50-cent increase on the sewer bill and 30 cents on their water bill.

Fields said the village is already approved for a $179,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Lawrence County Commissioners are contributing $75,000 towards the $900,000 project.

The village had to put out a second round of bids for the water treatment plant project.

“When we went for bids, everything was way over what we could have qualified for,” Fields said, adding the cost of steel and concrete has risen because of high gas prices and the construction demands of the areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina last year.

An air stripper tower draws water up and strips out volatile organic chemicals.

“What we have a problem with is petroleum products that are in the ground,” Fields said, adding that two of the wells the village uses are below accepted levels. “Our water supply is going to suffer if we don’t get the other two wells back up and running.”

In May, the Coal Grove village council added a fire fee of $4 per month for residences and $8 for businesses to buy a new fire truck for the Coal Grove Fire Department which has two pump trucks in their second and third decades of use.

Fire Chief Gary Sherman estimated the fee should generate around $44,000, enough to make a yearly payment on a truck.

The Coal Grove Village council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month.