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Thornville tackling sewer inflows

THORNVILLE – Thornville wants to get storm run-off and ground water out of its sanitary sewer system.

The inflow (surface water) and infiltration (ground water) investigation is intended to reserve treatment capacity for wastewater, cut treatment costs and prevent treatment plan overflows after major rain storms.

“The funds are now available,” Mayor Beth Patrick told The Beacon
when asked about the project’s timing. Village Administrator Ron Koehler said there may not be enough to finish the entire project, but at least all the engineering will be complete, which places the village in a better position to receive additional funding, if necessary.

According to the village’s August newsletter, Thornville has a significant inflow and infiltration problem and it’s common for sewer flows to exceed 800,000 gallons per day during wet weather compared to 80,000 per day during dry weather. The wastewater treatment plant’s normal capacity is 400,000 gallons per day.

Thornville hired GGC Engineers to conduct the investigation and provide recommendations for improvement projects that will reduce the amount of ground and surface water entering the system to more manageable levels. The project will require village residents’ co-operation through the entire project, which should last 18 to 24 months.

“We’ll work from the worst ones down,” said Koehler, who explained that the sections of the system with the most surface and groundwater will be checked first. Koehler said more than three-fourths of the sewer system has been “smoke tested,” which involves pumping smoke through the system. Some smoke testing must still be done and some smoke may come into homes via sewer connections. The smoke is non-toxic and non-staining, and it should simply be vented out by opening windows. Smoke testing will be publicized. It won’t affect use of the sewer.

Some esidents may experience bubbling or splashing in commodes from a vacuum created in the sewer during cleaning operations. The best option is to leave the toilet seat down when the cleaning crews are in town. If toilet overflowing occurs, cleaning crews will clean up the spillage.

According to GGC, mapping, smoke testing, and manhole inspections will take place through October. Closed circuit television inspections, private plumbing inspections and manhole inspections will continue through Feb. 2011. A report on findings and recommendation will be created March and April 2011, followed by design of improvements May and June 2011. Construction work goes to bid July 2011 and construction of phase one is planned for Aug. through Dec. 2011.

The initial project cost is $95,000. Thornville and GGC secured financing through the Ohio Public Works Commission with the following terms: 58.8 percent grant, $55,860; 25.1 percent zero interest loan, $23, 845; and 16.1 percent local revenues, $15,295. The project financing also includes $415,000 for the first phase of sewer rehabilitation at the same percentages. There are no immediate plans to raise sewer rates to complete this project.

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