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Funding sought for water project

SOUTH POINT — Exploring funding options to supply water to residents of Macedonia Road hill is the next step in the ongoing project.

“We are continuing to try to get water to the area and figure out the best course of action,” Rep. Ryan Smith, a Republican representing the 93rd District, said. “How we can value engineer the project. We are trying to figure how to keep the cost down and find funding from multiple sources.”

A survey is expected to be conducted to determine the income of those approximately 57 families who would be served by the water lines.

“To see if they would qualify for Community Development Block Grants,” Smith said. “They have to be low to moderate income. And we would do another survey to see about an additional pot of money.”

Aqua Ohio, a division of Aqua American headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., provides water to 3,500 customers in the South Point-Burlington area. But those households on top of Macedonia Road have never had running water. Instead they have either relied on wells or had water transported to their houses and kept in storage tanks.

“It is moving forward,” Fayette Township Trustee Mike Finley said about the project. “The good thing about it is we have a couple of different directions.”

When the Fayette trustees first proposed running water lines up the hill, Aqua Ohio said the entire project, including lines and a storage tank, could cost up to $3 million, making the project’s cost prohibitive.

“We are looking at setting up our own water district and buying water off of Aqua or putting in a water line and have a service agreement with Aqua and them running it,” Finley said. “With a service agreement, (Aqua) would bill the customer, take care of the water line and take their fee from the water sold. We would own the water line and at some time, they (could) buy it.”

Right now the trustees and Commissioners Bill Pratt and Freddie Hayes have agreed to do the actual installation of the water line.

“They have offered sweat equity on the situation,” Finley said.

As far as surveying the households targeted, those handling that haven’t set a time frame for it.

“We have to basically put together a survey document and send it to the state and make sure they approve it,” Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, said. “We would get volunteers to do the survey work.”

Applying for the funds would have to be completed by the first part of March.