After completing a two-year sanitary sewer evaluation study that cost the city $1 million, Reynoldsburg's water department recently completed a 10-year plan to meet Ohio Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for city sewer lines.
Work on neighborhood sewer lines will begin next year, Water Superintendent Mike Root said.
Reynoldsburg City Council's service committee met Oct. 21 to discuss giving City Attorney Jed Hood authorization to execute a letter of agreement with the Ohio EPA to fulfill the agency director's final findings and orders that were imposed on the city in 2009.
"We finished our evaluation and will sign this letter in compliance, then we will begin a plan to properly maintain our sewer system lines," Hood said.
He said the 10-year plan to refurbish and maintain sewer lines "goes over and beyond our normal maintenance routine, but this is what the EPA requires."
Hood said the Ohio EPA required the city to conduct the two-year evaluation of sewer lines in 2009. The work was started in 2010 and completed late last year.
Root said his department also addressed problem sewer lines when they were encountered during the study.
"As we did the whole city evaluation, a large part of it was monitoring how the water was flowing," he said. "We were required to find out how much rain water and how much flushed water was going to the treatment facility.
"Through the evaluation, we found areas to prioritize on our 10-year plan," he said. "The city has old clay pipes in most cases, but we will be relining the pipes."
He said the process of relining the pipes involves pulling what is called a cured-in-place pipe liner through the existing clay sewer main, which is heated to bond it to a PVC pipe to seal out roots and infiltration.
Refurbishing the sewer lines will cost the city about $400,000 per year, Root said.
"That amount will be built into the 2014 city budget, but it will be paid for by the city's capital improvement fee (CIP)," he said.
He said older neighborhoods would be worked on first.
Reynoldsburg City Council approved a water and sewer CIP fee in February; it went into effect this past summer. The fee adds $1.50 for each 1,000 gallons of water and sewage use.
Public Service Director Nathan Burd said the fee is expected to generate about $1.3 million annually to replace old and damaged water and sewer lines.
Burd said the average resident uses about 13,000 gallons of water per quarter, so the CIP fee adds approximately $19.50 per quarter to an average water bill.
He said the CIP fee will be clearly marked on each water bill.
The city maintains 143.8 miles of sanitary sewer lines and 145.1 miles of water lines.
Water and sewer services are purchased from the city of Columbus. City water rates went up by 6 percent and sewer rates by 4 percent in January to cover additional charges from Columbus.