The Village of Galena is growing, almost too fast. The village has a footprint of 1,100 acres, with another 268-acre annexation request that will likely, if approved, increase the village footprint to well over 1,300 acres.
The village wastewater treatment plant has an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency permit to process 75,000 gallons per day (GPD). On a dry day, with no inflow and infiltration into sewer lines, the plant already processes 60,000 GPD.
The village engineering firm IBI Group has said that plant usage during a wet day is an unknown. IBI has been doing an inflow and infiltration study, complete with smoke-testing, plus an influent meter test which will be complete in the spring.
The problem is, said Village Engineers Mike Murray and Kevin Wood, from IBI Group, the village wastewater treatment plant does not have the capacity to handle the sewer capacity it would need based on both short-term and long-term residential growth projections.
During a recent Galena Village Council meeting, Murray said Galena lacks the capacity to service three subdivisions within village limits slated for immediate development — Estates at Blackhawk, Miller Farm, and Arrowhead Lake Estates.
“Short-term, you’re going to have 552 homes,” Murray said. “Your existing plant would not cover that. Long-term potential developments, based on our analysis of the area, you’re looking at 837 units in 20 years, and anyone could come in at any time and jump ahead of that.”
Wood said with a wastewater treatment plant operating at near-capacity and developers knocking on the village door, IBI recommends replacing the existing wastewater treatment plant with a 250,000 GPD Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) wastewater treatment plant.
Wood said expanding the existing wastewater treatment plant would carry more stringent Ohio EPA effluent requirements; the MBR plant, built on a village-owned 2.5-acre vacant lot next to the existing plant, would be more easily operated, use a smaller footprint, and easily expanded in the future.
The 250,000 GPD Phase 1 MBR plant would cost the village $4.8 million and have a $90,000 per year annual maintenance cost, Wood said. The village would qualify for a $400,000 Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant plus a $200,000 OPWC loan, and a $4,080,000 Ohio Water Development Authority loan.
“Your current sewer rate structure is $7 per customer below what you would need to service the loan, but as more customers come online that lowers that,” Wood said. “To keep rates where they’re at you would need to subsidize sewer rates by $35,000 per year. As you build out your cost to subsidize would be less per customer.”
Wood said a new MBR wastewater treatment plant could be online by the end of 2019; that the old plant could then be demolished when the plant is ready to expand to 500,000 GPD.
Council members approved a contract with IBI to apply for a short-term $480,000 loan to design the plant. Wood said that loan would roll over into the construction loan.
Council members also approved increasing Galena’s flat-rate sanitary sewer fee by three percent to $57.76 per month; and village administrator Jeanna Burrell recommended council members consider subsidizing existing sewer customers so they don’t shoulder the impact of building the replacement plant.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.