Work is well under way on the extension of sanitary sewer lines from Ashley Circle to Fire Station 1 on Ohio 46. The work will solve a situation with the fire department that dates back four years.
“Around 2007 we got a notice from the EPA stating that we (the fire station on Ohio 46) were not tied into the sanitary sewer,” said Austintown Township administrator Mike Dockry. “We were washing trucks and the wash water was going into a ditch, which was not allowed.”
Dockry said the present fire station on Ohio 46 had a large septic system on the property. Sanitary sewer had not been run along Ohio 46 for the station to tie into a proper system. In 2007, that septic system was starting to fail.
Canfield City Manager Joe Warino, who was serving as Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer at the time, recalled the situation. He said the fire station had water that was treated with chlorine. By washing their fire trucks, the water was running off into a ditch, which was against EPA standards.
“Chlorinated water going into the storm sewers is considered contaminated,” Warino said.
He explained that when water is treated at the waste water treatment plants, chlorine is added to eliminate bacteria. The water then goes through a second filtering to remove the chlorine before emptying it out into the stream as pure water that won’t harm wildlife. The chlorinated water is considered toxic to wildlife and therefore cannot be released into a storm sewer.
With the problem revealed, Austintown had two choices to meet the EPA guidelines. One was to replace the ailing septic system. According to Warino, it would have required more property than was presently owned and Dockry said it could be very expensive.
As township and county officials worked on the problem, the fire department had to continue washing the trucks as it had always done. The EPA held off further action while a solution was being worked out.
Around 2009, Warino had found out the Appalachian Grant Funds had been extended to cover Mahoning County. He applied for the grant and ended up receiving a 50 percent matching grant.
The total for the project to run sanitary sewer from Ashley Circle and Ohio 46, north to the fire station would cost around $160,000. Warino applied for a no-interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission that Austintown Township would pay on for 20 years to cover the local share.
The one potential drawback was obtaining easements to put the line in. Of the four or five property owners along Ohio 46, all were eager to give an easement.
It will make the reports more valuable,” Dockry said.
With the easements and grants in place, the work began around mid-September. Dockry said it is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
As for crossing Ohio 46, Dockry said the road won’t be shut down. He said sanitary sewers are much deeper, often six to eight feet down, when compared to storm sewers. Because of the depth, the company installing the sewer can use a horizontal drilling process to access the fire station without shutting down the state route. Dockry said at that depth, the boring will be through the rock bed. A large commercial truck could easily cross over where the drill is cutting without any problems. That means there should be no traffic delays in the area.
When finished, Fire Station 1 will be fully legal and several property owners should be happy to have utilities on their lots.