BETHESDA-The water line project planned since 2009 has begun construction in Bethesda.
Funded by a $3.7 million interest-free loan from the Ohio EPA, the project will upgrade the meter system, water mains, valves and hydrants and extend the city water line to 33 new customers on Old State Route 147, Brown Rd., and County Road 26.
"The current system suffers at least a dozen breaks per year and doesn't provide adequate fire protection," says Mayor Marty Lucas. "With the improvements, these issues will become non-existent."
Lucas adds that the village has been dealing with an estimated 40 percent unaccountable water loss. Replacements and upgrades in water mains and meters will address that concern. In addition, Water Director Dick Quinlin notes that extending the service outside of town is already sparking some new development in those areas.
Each customer can expect a new meter installed by a certified plumbing contractor hired by the village. Residents should have received a letter explaining the process, but can contact Village Administrator Jeremy Campbell or Quinlin at (740) 484-4009 for more information. The meters will be radio-read, allowing increased efficiency in recording and reporting data and in billing. Meter replacement is mandatory, and water service could be terminated for non-compliance.
The Village of Bethesda is one of two applicants in eastern Ohio approved for the Ohio's Water Supply Revolving Loan Fund. Councilman Brian Bee says that the loan is a bonus for the town financially. According to a side by side estimate with a standard loan at 3 percent interest over 30 years, the 30-year EPA loan with its 40 percent debt forgiveness component and 0 percent interest could save the Village around $3.4 million in all. The town would in fact be paying back $2.22 million.
Construction and upgrades should be finished this time next year. Lucas says the long-term benefits of the project will outweigh any temporary inconveniences during the next few months. In the meantime, officials ask residents and those traveling through Bethesda to be patient if there are some brief traffic delays.
Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.