SIDNEY — Sidney residents can rest assured the city’s capacity to supply water is “in very good shape for years to come,” said Water Treatment Plant Assistant Superintendent Jason Smith during Monday evening’s city council workshop session.
Sidney City Council heard presentation updates on the utility capacities of the water treatment plant (WTP) versus future growth and the waterwaste treatment plant (WWTP) versus industrial growth, and on the storm water management (SWM) program.
Smith presented council with the city’s water growth trends since 2010 and pointed out the fluctuation shows a “sizable decrease since 2012/2013.” In 2012, Sidney was using as much as 3.28 million gallons per day (MGD) compared to the 3.012 MGD in 2015 and 2.898 MGD used year to date in 2016. Smith attributes the high rate in 2012 due to leaks from breaks and broken valves, which have all been repaired.
During Smith’s report on the water treatment plant’s capacity versus future growth, he simplified its potential with the analogy that Sidney could handle industrial growth, at the current 7 MGD capacity of five additional industries equivalent to Cargill, or 14 additional Freshway Foods or Emerson Climate Technologies. Or, based upon the maximum tank structure design capacity of 10 MGD, which would require additional mixers and feeders, Sidney could handle as many as 11 more Cargills, or 28 more Freshway Foods or Emerson Climate Technologies.
“Joining our new water source with our present surface water intake system provides for future plant expansions when growth requires it,” Smith said in conclusion.
Stormwater Monitoring Operator Brent Bruggeman reported the city is meeting all of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) requirements for the stormwater monitoring program. He said storm sewer mapping still needs to be completed, and also the future removal of clean water from sanitary sewer may place additional demands on the storm sewer system.
Bruggeman told council the stormwater fees for 2016 are budgeted to generate approximately $384,000. He said the fee rate of 83 cents Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) per month implemented in 2007 remained through 2011; however, the rate increased by 3 cents in 2012, and again in 2013; in 2014, the rate increased by 8 cents; there was no increase in 2015; and in 2016, it increased by another 1 cent, bringing the current stormwater residential fee to $1.01 ERU/month.
The stormwater fees annually provides for the stormwater maintenance funds, which employs two full-time employees and the cleaning and maintenance and/or repair of basins, pump stations and storm sewers; and for the stormwater monitoring funds, which provides for one full-time employee, the stormwater fee review and customer service, and EPA permit compliance to respond to spills and investigate illicit discharges into the water.
Waterwaste Treatment Plant Superintendent Barry Zerkle gave an overview of the waterwaste treatment plant’s progress, and said construction is on track to be completed on schedule. He said they are currently 45 percent complete on the Phase I project on the Equalization Basin and the Aeration Basin No. 7; and the Phase II project is funded for 2017, which are for equipment improvements to the anaerobic digester, sludge thickening, blower replacement and pump station improvements.
Zerkle said based on the 2015 available data, they are well above the minimum 85 percent removal efficiency required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, a program administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), with 98.2 percent removal of soluble pollutants, and 96.3 percent removal of surpended solids.
In other business during council comments, Councilman Ed Hammaker thanked Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough on behalf of a citizen for solving the problems with the new trash bags versus the old ones.
Mayor Mike Barhorst invited everyone on behalf of the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Sidney to join them on the south side of the courtsquare Sunday at 6 p.m. to pray for law enforcement, first responders, city officials, school administrators, statewide government and the nation.
Barhorst also questioned council about their thoughts on the subject of the city passing a potential six-month moratorium on the state medical marijuana law set to take effect on Sept. 8. He wondered if council wanted to impose a similar moratorium that other local communities have put in place, and if so, if they wanted to pass it as an emergency or under the normal process — which would require three readings before it would become adopted.
Seemingly confused by Barhorst’s question, in response, the consensus among council was to pass it according to the “normal process,” but asked for additional information as soon as possible. Barhorst clarified the subject and said if they wait to pass the moratorium by the normal process, it may not take affect by Sept. 8.
Law Director Jeffery Amick further explained Barhorst’s point of most local communities are passing the moratorium.
“The state authorized medical marijuana, but it left a provision in there that said that local communities, however, can decide where or within what districts it can be sold. There are a lot of moving parts on this thing. You have rules that have to be propagated by the state that aren’t and some of the communities are saying ‘Look, until the state gets this thing flushed out, we don’t want somebody running in on the 9th day of September and saying I want to put a place in’ … I think its just to buy some time so that we see how this is going on in other communities as to whether or not there are ways within this community that it would be appropriate to sell it or not,” Amick said.
Barhorst said, “Until the state institutes their own guidelines, I don’t know how we can determine what we want to do. I certainly don’t want to have to put something in place and then have to upend and start over again. It seems like a waste of time and energy.”
Council also reviewed the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda for Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, and agenda items for the next 30 days. The council also went into an executive session to consider the employment and compensation of a public official and for the purchase of property. Council took no action when they came out of the executive session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.