EAST PALESTINE — Village council will likely be moving forward with a contract with MS Consultants at the next regular meeting to begin the new water treatment project.
Council as a whole met with Gary Diorio and Joe Leson of MS during a utility committee last week in which Diorio and Leson gave a final overview of the proposed project.
Village Manager Pete Monteleone has been in the process of negotiating a contract with the engineering firm and will present that contract to council for its approval at the Feb. 27 meeting.
Monteleone has estimated the overall project to cost roughly $800,000 and although financing has not been secured at this point, the village has applied for a loan through the Ohio Public Works Commission to cover the entire cost.
The village is also pursuing grant options.
Council, in a past committee meeting, has also discussed the possibility of incremental rate increases to help finance the project over the coming years.
According to the plans presented by MS, the project would consist of an expansion to the existing pump house, new pump lines to tie in the existing four water wells, a new effluent line and a potential new fifth well.
The project is for the purpose of avoiding another water crisis like the one that happened in 2014 when several waterlines broke from sub-zero temperatures in January.
As a result, the village shut down its wells to conserve water, leaving residents without fresh water for nearly a week.
Water superintendent John Jurjavcic has also said three of the existing wells are outdated and not all are producing to capacity.
The fourth well, the Zuch well, was drilled in 2014 and although fairly new is not producing to capacity either.
According to the presentation, the new fifth well comprises about $168,000 of the cost and it was discussed among the committee whether the village would need to move ahead with that now, or wait until later.
Jurjavcic said he feels the village should move ahead now instead of waiting.
“The more wells we get to produce, the better off we are,” he said.
Although MS stressed it was up to the village how to proceed, Diorio and Leson agreed it would be beneficial not to wait.
“It would make your system a whole lot newer and better,” Diorio said.
The men also said that if council approves contracting with MS, the project will take about a year to complete.
The committee told Monteleone to go ahead and have legislation drawn up to present at the next council meeting to contract with MS.