Bethesda plans water purchase from county

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The Belmont County Commissioners convened Tuesday in a special meeting to review a proposal from Bethesda to purchase water from the county.

Richard Quinlin, Bethesda Public Works, said the village would purchase an average of 120,000 gallons per day with a peak of 250,000.

Currently, the village purchases 90,000-100,000 gallons from Barnesville. Quinlin said Bethesda has had no problems with its service, but Bethesda had not arranged for sufficient fire flow. He added that Bethesda also has an aged water storage tank and would likely soon be under EPA decree to update their system.

Bethesda officials and Belmont County Sanitary Sewer Director Mark Esposito have looked into the issues and secured an engineering firm. It was recommended they construct a new two million gallon tank in Barnesville, to be filled by the county.

Quinlin added that they were in line for an EPA loan and RCAP help. Officials must submit complete details of the system and a loan application by Dec. 1 of this year. Quinlin said the deadline to begin bidding was May of next year and they would be expected to ask for the loan by mid-2013. The project would be under construction by 2014 and would begin securing water from the county.

However, Esposito said the county could not guarantee its work would be ready by 2014, since there was a weak link in the St. Clairsville area. Improvements would necessitate rebuilding an under-sized pump station and rebuilding 13,000 feet of pipe from Country Club Road through woodlands to Route 9. The 12-inch piping would have to be replaced by 16-18 inch to handle the flow requirements.

He noted that when the pipe was initially laid in 1977, St. Clairsville had not been hooked into it as it is now. Bethesda’s water would triple the load.

A total of 13,000 feet of pipe would have to be replaced at about $60 per foot. Cost for the pump station could run to $500,000 for an overall estimate of $1.5 million.

In addition, Esposito noted the current workload and projects the county has taken on.

Quinlin noted that the project might mean an added flat surcharge of $2-$12 per Bethesda resident. They are looking at grants and other funding sources, as well as working with local business to defray costs.

The commissioners will send a letter informing the EPA of their support. Meanwhile, Esposito will continue to acquire information on costs and where the pump station should be located. A representative from the EPA would be invited to attend a meeting and hear the issues directly.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com