BUCKEYE LAKE – The Village of Buckeye Lake took another step forward on its march toward a public water distribution system. The village received a Permit to Install, or PTI, from Ohio EPA.
"This means we can move forward," said council member Drew Bourne Tuesday. "We’re in good shape on the timeline."
Erin Strouse, Ohio EPA spokeswoman, said a PTI is a detailed plan approval, which allows the village to begin competitive bidding for contractors. "The distribution system has been approved," she said.
Strouse said the Ohio EPA supports the distribution system because many of the wells in the Village of Buckeye Lake contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic. Most village wells are shallow and contain high levels of iron and manganese-a trace element everyone needs, but can be harmful in large amounts.
Strouse said drinking water in the village does not meet Ohio EPA standards for safety and the Ohio EPA is encouraging all Village of Buckeye Lake residents to connect to the distribution system when it’s installed.
Council clerk Tim Matheny said physical construction of the system should begin early next year.
Strouse announced the Ohio EPA awarded the village $655,056 in loans to help with the design of the distribution system and to pay for the connection fee to Millersport; the Village of Millersport will supply bulk water to the Village of Buckeye Lake. She said $347,985 will go toward designing the system and $307,071 will go toward Millersport’s connection fee. The loans are available through the Ohio EPA’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account, or WSRLA. Between principle forgiveness and interest free loans, Strouse said the WSRLA would save the village a total of $346,837 when compared to conventional loans. She said since 1998, the WSRLA has invested $320 million toward Ohio public water improvements and has saved Ohio communities a total of $52 million in interest payments over conventional loans.
M•E Companies Vice President Kevin Wood will attend the Aug. 11 council meeting to give an update and the progress of the distribution system and answer questions regarding a proposed water tower that may resemble a light house.
In a related matter, Mayor Frank Foster said during Monday night’s village council meeting that the village would not be able to use grant money for the trim to make a water tower resemble a lighthouse. The village would need to secure a private loan to cover the trim. However, even with the trim, a 500,000 gallon water tower light house design is still less expensive than all other conventional designs available that simply look like water towers, he said.
In other council news:
• The "Buckeye Lake Condominium" project near the North Shore Boat Ramp – two large single-family structures designed by Wachtel & McAnally – is now moving ahead after a long delay in construction. Issues with surface water drainage have now been resolved. The project has tied into an existing storm sewer on the eastern side of Ohio 79. The gated community will have a total of 19 homes similar to the two existing structures. There is space available for small shops and storefronts.
Council President Charlene Hayden said she did not believe a lack of money or the current strained real estate market caused the delay. She said the developer had other contracts that temporarily took priority.
• Council approved placing an additional 2.5 mill police levy on the November ballot, as well as a 0.8 mills general fund levy.