County unveils potential water project for West Farmington, Southington and other areas
By Ed Runyan
The Trumbull County commissioners Thursday announced a water project they dubbed “Blueprint to Prosperity” that could serve hundreds of customers in West Farmington, Southington and other areas.
It involves construction of $15 million worth of waterlines north along Braceville Robinson Road and state Route 534 from Newton Falls to Southington and then farther north into West Farmington.
A “redundant” set of waterlines would travel west along U.S. Route 422 from Warren to Southington to ensure that there is enough water to serve both communities and any additional customers along the routes, said Randy Smith, Trumbull County engineer and sanitary engineer.
For Southington Township Trustee Sam Plott, the proposal is like a dream come true. After residents in parts of Southington, Champion and Warren townships turned down a county water project earlier this year, he’s thrilled that another opportunity for Southington is being offered so soon.
And compared with the earlier proposal, this one will be much less expensive and much easier for residents to accept, with the cost to property owners being around half of the earlier proposal, Plott said.
Furthermore, property owners along the route of the project would have the option to refuse the water and not incur any cost, Smith said.
The key to the project is a zero-percent, 30-year loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and 50 percent forgiveness of the principal, Smith said.
State officials, in discussions with Trumbull County’s state representatives, Sean O’Brien of Bazetta, D-63th, and Michael O’Brien of Warren, D-64th, have offered the funding, Smith said.
“It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Trumbull County,” said Mark Hutson, an engineer with Burgess and Niple of Painesville.
State officials approached Trumbull officials to seek a fix to the problem with the West Farmington water supply because the village’s treatment plant is in need of expensive upgrades, Smith said. An attempt was made to get water from Middlefield, but that Geauga County village did not have enough, Smith said.
The state also has concerns regarding the potential for algae blooms in the Grand River to shut down the village water supply such as what occurred in Toledo in 2014, Hutson said. West Farmington now gets its water from the Grand River.
State officials are starting to see higher levels of phosphorous, which causes algae blooms, in inland waterways such as the Grand River, Hutson said.
A $3 million part of the proposal would serve a section of Bazetta Township along Elm Road from Howland to Cortland, but that’s a lower priority for the state than the western project, Smith said.
The county will need to finalize an agreement with the state and reach agreements with West Farmington for its 278 water customers and the Southington Estates mobile-home park in Southington for its 130 customers for the project to move forward, Smith said.
Once the agreements are in place, the deadline is two years to have the water lines in operation, he said.
In addition to West Farmington and Southington, the project also could promote development in Bazetta, Braceville, Champion and Warren townships, officials said.