Baltimore Council reviews water system forecast
By Scott Rawdon
BALTIMORE- They know what's coming. Baltimore's water treatment plant is 75 years old and expensive to maintain. Some of the village public water infrastructure is undersized and water pressure is low in some areas of Baltimore. The current water system isn't adequate to provide service to the volume of businesses and development the village would like to attract.
So, in anticipation of making upgrades, the Baltimore Village Council hired the WilburSmith Associates engineering firmto predict the village's future water system requirements. Council reviewed the completed Wilber- Smith forecast during a special council meeting Oct. 16.
"Instead of starting through a series of piecemeal projects that may or may not be the best for the money being spent, a plan is beneficial,"said Village Administrator Marsha Hall. "A plan is almost a necessity if we wish to obtain significantfunding for some projects."
The $85,500 WilburSmith Associates forecast was financed over fiveyears through the Ohio Water Development Authority. It includes a computer modeling program to generate a simulated water system--for example, the program will help to determine how water pressures will be affected by various widths and lengths of pipes, or to determine the best locations for water towers before anything is physically constructed.
WilburSmith Engineering Designer Emilia Floyd told council that the plan includes a timeline anticipating the needs of the village and its public water system based on population and development projections.
Hall explained the timeline is somewhat dependent upon developers' plans because developers will be expected to pay for a significantportion of Baltimore's projected water system upgrades. The forecast only estimates the costs of upgrades through 2012, although it predicts the village's needs much further into the future. It anticipates that the village's public water system will require:
Floyd explained that loops of water lines are better than capped straight water lines because water stagnates in the capped pipes, and if a looped water line breaks, service won't be disrupted to every home and business attached to the water line. She said that upgrading the village's existing water treatment plant is not cost effective. A new plant should be built to be expandable as Baltimore's population increases. Floyd said a new plant could be built on the same lot as the existing plant; a new well field could tapped just east of the existing well field.
Floyd urged the council to make sure developers pay their fair share of upgrades to the village's water system. "Make sure the developers help the village, not take away from it," she said.
Hall said the village will incorporate the public water system plan into its fiveyear Capital Improvement Plan for village capital projects, and the village will begin seeking funding for the water system projects based on the plan. The village will use the computer modeling program to help accommodate the needs of prospective businesses and developers.