Ferry talks line breaks

MARTINS FERRY – City council met Wednesday night in the aftermath of major waterline breaks during the weekend to review and look at potential upgrades.

Thanks went to the city employees who worked around the clock Friday through Sunday to repair 15 water breaks on County Road 4. The issue began with a stuck altitude valve, now replaced. When the system was shut down for repair and re-surged the lines, the old pipework began to blow under the pressure.

Service Director Chuck Bennett reported the cost came to $35,000, not including benefits, fuel and street repairs. A total of 280 overtime hours were put in during the weekend.

Bennett noted a total of about 20 breaks in August.

Auditor Rita Randall reported that the water fund has been in the red for several months. The added expense from the recent breaks will prove an added burden. The issue will be further discussed at a finance committee meeting.

Council Member Bruce Shrodes noted that one option is the installation of a high-density polyethylene continuous pipe that would alleviate the current problems.

“It has lower life cycle costs, it’s flexible, it has zero leaks because it’s welded,” Shrodes said.

“It’s a virtually indestructible pipe,” said Safety Director William Suto, adding that a trial run could be conducted. “It’s a hundred-year pipe.”

They will compile a price list.

Mayor Paul Riethmiller updated council on several projects in the city. All sewer, water and electric lines have been installed for 22 RV sites at the Ohio Valley RV Park located on First and Center Streets. A chain link fence and final will be made soon. Opening day should be September or October.

National Lime and Stone is planning an expansion project. It has purchased 10 added acres south of their existing property to add room for backup inventory and a new entrance road to eliminate two-way single-road traffic. The Martins Ferry facility has become one of the busiest in the state.

A guest noted that several residents have complained of the noise. Reithmiller said a complaint hotline is open and the company has been very cooperative with the city in arranging working hours and installing noise dampeners.

In other matters, Well No. 4 is back in service. The filter beds are working and work continues with Metropolitan Environmental to resolve all issues with the beds.

In addition, council addressed the needed repairs on Adams Street. Up to $6,000 was authorized to be appropriated from the general fund for repairs, including 80 linear feet by 20 and 21 feet wide, a three-inch asphalt base and one inch of topping. Edges to be sealed and finished.

In addition, Riethmiller pointed out repairs must be made to Dix Edition before winter. He noted that damage resulted from the city improperly restoring the road after repairing a waterline break.

In police matters, officers are working with schools, businesses and emergency services toward an emergency plan. There will also be a law enforcement presence in the mornings and evenings around the schools when possible.

Also, funds from traffic stops and other sources allowed the purchase of five new taser guns.

A sobriety checkpoint will be located on Route 7 starting at 11 p.m. this weekend.

Shrodes reported on a recent service committee meeting. He noted dog complaints and reminded residents that owners are liable for their pets. He added that the Aug. 28 service committee meeting will be a hands-on session and members will travel to different wards to note problems and make suggestions. The meeting will begin 5:30 p.m.

Several possible upgrades to the cemeteries were discussed.

Council noted that the city currently maintains 50 properties.

A town hall meeting will be held Aug. 26, 5:30 p.m. at the library. Sen. Lou Gentile will speak.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com