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Ironton deserves sewer answers

Your problems are bad enough for us to fine you, but not bad enough to earn our help.

That is essentially what the State of Ohio has said and someone owes the city of Ironton answers when it comes to funding sewer projects.

Citizens and city leaders should be outraged at the state’s massive oversight that left the city out in the cold when it comes to $278 million in federal funding allocated by the state for water and sewer rehabilitation projects.

A pair of requests by the city of Ironton for nearly $40 million to rehabilitate its sanitary and overflow sewer separation facilities was not included as one of the 324 priority projects statewide by the Ohio EPA. It did not even receive partial funding

This decision raises many questions: Who made the allocation decisions? What were the criteria used? How could a city that has been fined nearly $100,000 for its lack of compliance on sewer projects it cannot afford not make a list that included many other cities that appear to have far better systems?

As further evidence that this exclusion makes no sense, Ironton was even singled out recently as one of 86 Ohio communities with serious sewage overflow problems.

The city was named in The Clean Water Affordability Act of 2009 that would authorize $1.8 billion over five years for a grant program to help financially distressed communities like Ironton update their aging waste water and storm sewer infrastructure.

The program would provide a 75-25 cost share for municipalities to use for planning, design, and construction of treatment works to control combined and sanitary sewer overflows.

So some leaders realize there is a problem — a problem that cost the city nearly $100,000. Now let’s see if anyone is smart enough to help us find a solution.