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Officials will meet to move Macedonia project forward

BURLINGTON — The $3 million price tag to bring running water to fewer than 30 households on top of Macedonia Road hill in Burlington isn’t deterring state, county and township officials from the project.

They plan to meet with Aqua Ohio officials on Thursday to try to convince them the costs can be cut substantially.

“I think that figure is for them doing all the work and buying all the equipment,” State Rep. Ryan Smith, R-93, said. “I believe the trustees certainly can help with the manpower. I think we can bring the cost down to a reasonable level.”

Aqua Ohio, a division of Aqua American headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., provides water to 3,500 customers in the South Point-Burlington area.

Getting water to the area has become a cause for the Fayette Township Trustees who have asked the Lawrence County Commissioners for at least $260,000 in Community Development Block Grants to go toward the project to put in three miles of water line. The trustees have already committed to doing the work, including hiring excavating equipment from a private company.

The shortest route is to run a line from the base of the cul de sac where Aqua Ohio’s emergency storage tank sits below Macedonia Hill. A booster station would have to be placed at the base of the line to pump it up the hill since the elevation of the homes is higher than the site of the storage tank.

With so few customers, Aqua Ohio officials have called the project expensive and not fiscally feasible.

Pipe alone without fittings water company officials estimate would cost $1 million. Then there is the booster pump needed to get the water up the hill to the customers. Price tag on that is a quarter of a million dollars with an additional half million for a storage tank.

“We cannot burden our customers with those costs because of the project,” Greg Odell, area manager for Aqua Ohio, has said. “For this situation you really need to find grant money. We really want to help the people and are open to alternative funding and any suggestions we can get to help it along. But we really can’t adversely affect our current customers. Otherwise they would see their rate go up substantially.”

Smith is hoping state and federal funds could finance the project. But he also wants to show Aqua Ohio that it has overestimated the project costs.

“We need to get everybody back together for a meeting to see if we can bring these costs down,” Smith said.