Christiansburg residents at an open house earlier this week said a planned $4.5 million wastewater treatment project is long overdue, despite rising costs for residents.
The village hosted an open house to allow residents to ask questions about the project, and sign agreements so the village can place a storage tank on their property.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the village to treat wastewater after a recent study found high levels of bacteria in West Honey Fork Creek that was traced back to the village.
Christiansburg will use a series of grants and low-interest loans to pay for the project, and residents will also pay about $55 a month in sewage fees. Most residents use septic systems now and don’t pay for sewage.
About 220 users would likely have to pay the sewer fees.
Despite the higher cost, many residents who attended the open house said the new system is needed.
“This will settle a lot of problems with the sewer systems,” said Rose Torchick, a resident who attended the meeting.
Some residents on a fixed income have raised concerns about the cost of the project, said Harvey Zimmerman, mayor of Christiansburg. But he said most understand the village has no choice but to install the system.
Marian Greentaner, who has lived in the village for 17 years, said the project is overdue.
“This town is way behind the power curve with infrastructure,” Greentaner said.
The project could go out to bid as early as this fall, and construction is expected to start as early as next year.
The village will install a filter drip wastewater collection and treatment system, said Brice Schmitmeyer, an engineer with Fanning Howey, based in Celina. The system requires a 1,500-gallon storage tank to be installed in every user’s yard, which will deliver the wastewater to a site on Addison New Carlisle Road south of the village.
The village will own the storage tanks.
The project is necessary, Schmitmeyer said, but is a big step for the village.
“It’s a monster project for a town this size,” Schmitmeyer said.
The Ohio EPA is also planning to host a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Christiansburg Fire Company, 110 W. First St. The agency is accepting public comments that will be taken into consideration when the agency develops a draft permit that will set limits for how clean the wastewater needs to be after it is treated.
The limits will allow village officials to determine how the wastewater treatment system is designed.
In 2012, the EPA conducted a study of the Middle Great Miami Watershed, including West Fork Honey Creek in Champaign County. The study showed that while the larger watershed was attaining exceptional warm water habitat status, improperly treated wastewater from Christiansburg was leaving high levels of bacteria in the West Fork Honey Creek.