XENIA — Commissioners are taking steps to expand water services in anticipation of future growth in Greene County.
Board members gave the go-ahead Jan. 30 to advertise a request for proposals for engineering and program management services to begin the water treatment plant expansion and upgrade under Greene County Sanitary Engineering Department (GCSED). The county plans to use a progressive design-build model for the project.
GCSED Director Jason Tincu said the department has been developing a water quality master plan to determine the future “build out” of the county’s system.
Currently, the department withdraws, treats and delivers about 9 million gallons per day of drinking water to the City of Beavercreek, areas of the cities of Bellbrook and Centerville, Beavercreek and Sugarcreek townships, Shawnee Lake (Jamestown), Cedarville and other locations in the county, Tincu wrote in a newsletter.
“We’ve determined that a 20-year build-out is at about 12 million gallons of water a day,” Tincu told commissioners. “That being considered, we’ve got a series of improvements to get to that capacity.”
Tincu said plans include constructing two new wells across the street from Trebein Elementary and Jacob Coy Middle School in Beavercreek as well as updating the treatment method to membrane softening and reverse osmosis.
“It provides a softened, high-quality water for the customer,” Tincu said. “It also protects the customer from currently unregulated contaminants. Reverse osmosis is a very high-quality filtration system that filters out things that we currently don’t know are in the water.”
Commissioners Tom Koogler and Dick Gould noted the value the upgrade would have for customers at no additional cost.
“Even without the softening aspect of it — just the purification and filtering aspect — especially in today’s world, it certainly has tremendous value,” Koogler said. “ … And being able to provide all these services, protection, at no additional cost to customers.”
“It’s important they know they get a better quality at same cost,” Gould said.
Added County Administrator Brandon Huddleson: “We’re not raising water bills to pay for soft water.”
Huddleson said the preliminary estimate for the expansion, upgrades and other developments is $30 to $35 million. Money for the project would become available when current bonds are paid off.
Commissioner Bob Glaser stated at the meeting that he didn’t want to “blindside” water users about how that money is being spent.
“I think instead of spending the money we could also offer a rebate, too. We’re forgoing the rebate on the funds to keep expanding the plant and I think just for the sake of telling people what’s going on with their water, I think they have a right to know,” Glaser said at the meeting. “I think in all fairness to rate-payers we need to be transparent to them and let them know that we’re taking this money and we’re reapplying it, investing it, in improving the plant for them.”
Huddleson said Beavercreek citizens, who he said are the majority of GCSED’s water users, have expressed at Beavercreek City Council meetings their desire to move to soft water.