The Canal Winchester Times

Rates going up in March

Plan is to start new water plant construction in April

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The 1,200 customers who get their water from the Groveport water system will find a reminder on the city's website about a 20-percent rate increase coming in March.

It's part of a series of phased-in rate increases approved by Groveport City Council in 2012 to fund construction of a new $3.17-million water treatment plant and to cover operating expenses.

City Administrator Marsha Hall said the plan is to advertise for bids Feb. 10, award the project March 10 and start construction in April.

Estimates are that it will take about a year to build the new water plant, which means the project would be finished early in 2015.

The rate schedule approved in 2012 established a 20-percent increase each year from 2012 through 2015, followed by a 12-percent increase in 2016 and finally, a 3-percent increase in 2017.

Ultimately, the rate in 2017 is anticipated to cost system users $10.14 per 1,000 gallons.

The Ohio EPA told the city in 2009 it had to take action to upgrade the deteriorating infrastructure at the existing water plant on South Hamilton Road. That plant was built in 1936.

Council chose to build a new plant rather than obtain water from the city of Columbus through a full-service water agreement. The estimated cost for going that route was $3.29 million, with an additional $1 million to be spent on connection costs.

Approximately 1,500 Groveport residents get their water from Columbus.

Hall said the project and budget continue to be on target.

"We have been informed that the Ohio EPA has approved the plans and it is just in the notification stage," Hall said. "The latest engineer's estimate is right on target to what had been shown in the water study.

"This is good news, if it plays out that way, because the study was performed three years ago," she said.

"Once the plant is fully completed and all costs accounted for, we will do another rate analysis to determine if we can either reduce or eliminate some of the future rate increases that were already approved."

When city council approved the rate increase ordinance, it included a provision allowing it to revisit the rates every three years, potentially making adjustments up or down as necessary.

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