WAYNE LAKES — On Monday night people filled the room during the Village of Wayne Lakes Council Meeting addressing the Village Sewage System Plan.
“We felt it was an advantage to the village to get everyone together for an update,” Mayor Pro Tempore John McRoberts said.
A village resident accused the council of not following the “Sunshine Laws” of parliamentary procedure by having closed meetings about the sewage system.
“Council has not had an executive meeting that has had anything to do with the sewage system,” Mayor McRoberts said.
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) contracted with IBI Group, a global architecture, planning, engineering, and technology firm, to complete a feasibility study for wastewater collection and treatment alternatives for the Village of Wayne Lakes in in 2015.
The study recommends a specific collection and treatment alternative: grinder pump sewers and a new mechanical, extended aeration plant for treatment. The draft study report was developed with the guidance of a local steering committee made up from elected officials, and business and property owners from the Village of Wayne Lakes. The steering committee met three times and the minutes of these meetings are available in the report at the link below. A public comment meeting took place Saturday, May 30, 2015 in Wayne Lakes, according to MVRPC.org.
During Monday’s meeting, three presentations were made by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Darke County Board of Health and Access Engineering, followed by questions for each. Access Engineering President Brice Schmitmeyer said Access is not under contract with the village. He said Access has looked at funding options with former Wayne Lakes Mayor Gary Lee Young.
“We have reviewed the study and it is a big project,” Schmitmeyer said. “We are on a funding list with the state funding board, where the village could be at zero percent interest for the design loan. Once you get through the design, we start pursuing grant funds. Our goal is to get the best funding available, if the village decides to move forward. Where things stand as far as the engineering, you are still years out from the system being in. Based on the estimates, it will cost about $7.5 million with about 320 users. Anticipating different grant/loan funds the price range is about $60-95 a month, with $95 on the high side.”
According to Darke County Health Department Commissioner Dr. Terry Holman, Wayne Lakes has been on the radar with EPA and previous health department officials for several decades.
“It is time that something needs to be done,” he said.
When asked what has taken so long for the village to improve its sewer system, Holman said the health department and Wayne Lakes have been moving along with this for several years.
“Therefore the goal is to work with it and find the best route and gain the maximum amount of funding they can get to make it cheaper for everyone else,” he said.
He also said the health department looks at reportable diseases.
“We really haven’t been doing any testing,” he said. “If we start testing and find things I know I am going to find, and I end up reporting it to EPA, and there are issues and orders. The corrections, will come in a very short time, ordered to update within a year or two. This way, the village has had several years, allowing it to get cheaper funding, free funding and grants.”
Some residents wondered about cheaper options made available to the village.
“You don’t have the area required for replacement systems so that you can do your own systems,” Holman said. “It doesn’t exist. The average lot size of Wayne Lakes is between a quarter and a half acre. One-and-one-half and two acres will meet 2015 requirements, not current requirements.”
In addition, Holman said given some conservative figures, about 84,000 plus gallons of sewage are going through relatively untreated per day in the village.
“The biggest problem is the amount of sewage we have discharging,” he said. “I live at the top of the hill in Wayne Lakes and I smell sewage coming through the stream just about every day. About two-thirds of you are contributing to that.”
Holman later clarified with The Daily Advocate that he sometimes smells sewage coming through the creek when he is down at the bridge at the bottom of hill, but not everyday.
EPA Environmental Engineer Geoffrey Holmes said that Wayne Lakes is not under any legal enforcement to install sewers and treatment works. He added there is a great risk to the public health having so many on-site septic systems inefficiently discharging their wastewater, causing serious concern.
“Wayne Lakes was identified among other villages as having failing septic systems within their community,” he said. “It is also probably the largest population of an incorporated village within the southwest district office that does not have centralized sewers. Ohio EPA could still, at some point, come through with legal enforcement against the village of Wayne Lakes. It is due to the village leadership working with the Ohio EPA to alleviate our concerns, to work to remedy some of the situations that we see as a problem, that we have held off on doing any legal enforcement against Wayne Lakes.”
The final sewer feasibility study is available for review and download at http://www.mvrpc.org/environment/water-quality-management/unsewered-communities#wayne
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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