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Sewer project 45 percent completed

CHESAPEAKE — Right now, it looks like a gigantic concrete box along the Ohio River behind the village’s library.

But those involved in the transformation of the Union-Rome Township sewage system see more. They see a multi-million dollar job that is almost halfway finished.

“We are right on schedule,” Tim Porter, Union-Rome Sewer District administrator, said. “What you are seeing are the concrete tanks and head works, where all of your safety equipment comes in at the pump station.”

Porter says the project is 45 percent completed.

The project, which began in October of 2007, will use micro-filtration membrane sheets made from chlorinated polyethylene with micron-sized pores. Treated water permeates through the membrane sheets with contaminants trapped on the other side. The technology comes from Kubota Corp. of Japan, which has been using it since the 1960s. However, the Kubota system was only first introduced to the United States in 2001.

When the township’s system is up and running, it will be the fourth or fifth in the state to use the Kubota system, Porter said. Other completed plants are in Jackson, Delphos and Sandusky.

“It is not a typical waste water treatment system,” Porter said. “Flat plate membranes suck the clean water through.”

In 2002, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency declared that the current plant did not meet the National Pollution Discharge Environmental System standards because there was a harmful amount of ammonia discharged into the Ohio.

That plant treats about 1 million gallons of sewage a day. The new plant will double that capability.

Funding for the $23 million project comes from the EPA.

As far as any cost being shifted over to the consumer, Porter says the district is unsure as yet. In fact, the new system could possibly reduce rates.

“We are looking to change the billing system to bill the same as water usage,” he said. “By doing that we will not have to raise the rates. You would pay for what you are using.”

Right now, consumers pay a flat rate. A decision on the billing system is expected to be made in the next six months.