NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city must increase its sewer rates significantly in the near future if it intends to reduce periodic flooding that has plagued the community for years.
That’s the conclusion of a study commissioned by the city last fall.
URS Corp., a Cleveland engineering firm, gave a report to City Council members who attended an informational session before Monday night’s meeting.
Chris Nielson, senior project engineer for URS, presented five scenarios the city could pursue.
These alternatives are a “do nothing” approach calling for minimal capital investment by the city as well as small rate hikes; an “all-in” proposal calling for upgrades to about half of the city’s retention basins; the purchase of two sewer-cleaning “vactor” trucks; boosting residential fixed sewer charges from $1.82 to $12 per month through 2018; and construction of two major stormwater storage basins.
Known as “equalization” basins, each would be a steel-reinforced concrete structure capable of holding 2.2 million gallons of water from a major storm for up to 24 hours to allow time for that water to dissipate though ditches and sewer lines to prevent flooding.
Each basin is projected to cost $6 million to design and build, Nielson said.
“This demonstrates how important it is for us to pre-plan and have capital allocations set aside,” Dr. Ronald Arndt, R-2nd Ward, said.
Arndt, who attended the meeting, said he agrees with the study’s overall findings, but has reservations about asking residents to foot the bill for needed improvements.
“The challenge is how to go to the community and ask them to cough up (an estimated) $11 million to $15 million,” Arndt said. “That’s tough for those who are not affected by flooding.’’
Residents now pay $4.63 per 100 cubic fee of water used.
The average household of four uses 800 to 1,000 cubic feet of water or about 6,000 gallons per month, according to previously cited figures from Jim Whitlock, the city’s Utilities Department supervisor.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.