GOMER — To reduce the final bill Gomer residents will pay for a major sewer improvement project, Allen County is looking to outside funding sources — a process likely to push the project’s expected finish date to the later half of 2021.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency identified nuisance conditions in Gomer in 2012 and requested the Allen County Commissioners to find a solution for what the Allen County Sanitary Engineer’s Office later confirmed as extensive sewage problems. This affects 150 properties in the Gomer area due to aged infrastructure.
Sanitary Engineer Steve Kayatin said problems ranged from the discharge of raw feces into catch basins, odor problems and septic systems installed on lots too small for today’s regulations.
The fix identified, however, would require the installation of a $3.2 million sewer system that would send untreated sewage south down Gomer Road to one of the county’s treatment plants in American Township. Each user would pay roughly $22,000 over a 20- to 40-year period for the project.
Kayatin is looking to cut that bill in half by using outside funds from potentially the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ohio Water Development Authority or with Community Development Block Grants if income levels match current requirements.
Getting grant money from the USDA, however, isn’t as simple as sending in an application. Kayatin stood before Allen County Commissioners Thursday morning to request additional authority to sign project documents and change orders — a single move in the 17-step process to apply for the funding.
“This is the first stem in many to get us to comply,” Kayatin said. “When you’re trying to get a couple million from them, they can ask for more.”
Property owners were notified of the project during a 2017 public hearing, and Kayatin expects further conversations will finalize the costs associated with the new system.
The entire project consists of a sewer line extending east along Old Lincoln Highway connected to a pump station to be constructed near the intersection of Gomer Road and Old Lincoln Highway.
As for the current timeline, Kayatin expects to go out for bid by fall of 2019, and the project will be finished by mid to late 2021.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.