POWELL — Ground was broken Monday on a $40 million expansion and rebuilding of the Olentangy Environmental Control Center (OECC) at 10333 Olentangy River Road.
The OECC is Delaware County’s first large-scale facility for wastewater treatment, located just above the Franklin County line. It was first built in 1979 and replaced at the same site by a second facility in 1994. The center “is now being rebuilt and expanded to handle increasing demand for sewer service in Liberty and Orange townships and in key growth corridors along Sawmill Parkway and U.S. Route 23,” the county said in a news release.
“We knew from the master plan put in place that we would have to build capacity in this area,” said Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell. “I’m pleased we’ll be able to do so without wasting money or existing assets.”
At the groundbreaking, County Commissioner President Barb Lewis said that in 2016, a master plan for the sewer system was developed and adopted the next year. The project being done at OECC is an example of “smart growth,” she said.
The county said the project was awarded a $5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Ohio BUILDS Water Infrastructure Grant Program. Also of significance, this is the first public-sector project in the county to use a construction process called Progressive Design Build (PDB), which allowed the county to expand the project by 20% at about the original cost. It also locked in costs by pre-procurement, saving the county nearly $1 million.
“This is a great example of how smart planning contributes to smart growth here in Delaware County,” County Commissioner Jeff Benton said in the release.
“The Delaware County Regional Sewer District (DCRSD) is working with the Columbus office of design-engineering firm Arcadis U.S., Inc., and Peterson Construction Company of Wapakoneta, Ohio,” the county said.
DCRSD Director Tiffany Maag said, “Planning work on this project started before the pandemic, but given the use of the PDB method, the project will be completed ahead of schedule for less cost than originally anticipated. They also helped us identify modifications to an existing facility, so that, in lieu of the original plan to mothball the facility and build a completely new one, we saved nearly $6 million, which, in turn, is allowing us to layer on additional improvements.”
DCRSD currently serves more than 111,000 people with 531 miles of sewer lines, the county said.
Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.