WILMINGTON — Wilmington council’s wastewater/sewer committee discussed millions of dollars of projects and a possible monthly storm water management fee.
Currently, there is no charge for storm water management, which has been funded by sewer rates for years. No change has been suggested for the sewer rates themselves, which are $4.79 per 1,000 gallons plus a base fee of $7.72 for those inside Wilmington’s city limits. Outside Wilmington, the fee is $10.48 per 1,000 gallons with an $11.27 base fee.
Wilmington Wastewater Department Superintendent Harry McVey said he doesn’t want an increase to sewer rates, but he would like a storm water fee to relieve the sewer fund.
“There’s a lot of money taken out for storm water from our fund,” McVey said. “Two-and-a-half to three people in our department would be working full-time on storm water catch basins and things like that.”
The sewer appropriation should be used for managing the sanitary sewer system, McVey said, adding that other communities charge such a fee. Later, McVey said before the wastewater department paid for managing storm water, the city’s general fund did.
Using rates provided by the city of Monroe, McVey said if the city charged $3 a month to the city’s roughly 4,000 residential users, it would generate more than $172,000 per year. If the city charged the 500 or so commercial users $12.17 per month, it would raise about $73,000 a year, and if the city charged the 20 industrial users $121.25 per month, the fee would generate about $29,000 annually, according to McVey.
“That would be a good start right there, if we could just start generating some money from that,” McVey said.
With the absence of committee member Randi Milburn, committee member Jonathan McKay said the committee should wait to discuss fees. Committee chair Lonnie Stuckert said the committee needs to further review the proposed fee and hold a public forum.
McVey identified more than $2.2 million in improvements, repairs and replacements over the next 10 years. Some of those expenses include repairing the department-owned Textron building’s roof, replacing the department’s vacuum truck and purchasing equipment, such as cameras for sewer lines, pumps, a trailer and an irrigation sprayer.
Possible projects were also discussed, including a sewer replacement on North South Street and an upgrade to the plant’s ultraviolet disinfection system, a sludge de-watering facility and phosphorous removal.
Some of those projects are tied to possible changes in regulation. For instance, McVey said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will lower the amount of phosphorous treatment plants can discharge to 0.08 milligrams per liter beginning in 2030, which McVey said will incur further costs on the plant.
McVey couldn’t estimate the cost of complying with that anticipated change in phosphorous limits.
McVey also presented an annual survey of sewer costs showing Wilmington’s sewer costs to be below the average cost of 63 different Ohio sewer systems.
Stuckert and McKay approved moving a supplemental appropriation of $8,000 to the finance committee. Committee member Randi Milburn was absent.
The appropriation will come from the sewer fund to the fund’s capital improvements line to purchase a trailer to haul catch basins, manholes and pipe.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.