Village gets closer to OEPA grant

BELLAIRE — The village of Bellaire appears to be another step closer to getting financing it needs to purchase two air strippers for its water treatment plant.

During a regular Bellaire Village Council meeting held Thursday, Councilman Mike Doyle said he received word recently that the village had moved up on a list of municipalities eligible for grant and loan funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The project is estimated at $3 million. If eventually approved, the city may get a $1.5 million grant and $1.5 million loan from the EPA.

The process to secure the loans and gain better dialogue with the EPA began about two years ago.

It was successful in large part to Sue Bell, water plant operator of record, and her efforts, he said.

“She did a great job and needs to be recognized,” Doyle said.

Air strippers blow air into the water, which would eliminate the chemical tetrachloroethylene. If the village could get the air strippers it could connect to the new intake, which would increase the plant’s capacity. This would allow the plant to sell water to other places. The village currently cannot use the new valve because of the chemical tetrachloroethylene. This is the same chemical that state and local health officials determined last year was coming from a former dry cleaning business in the community. That valve is not being used by the village and there is no pipe connected to the plant, which means no water from it is entering the plant. However, that water still is tested by the Ohio EPA.

Bell noted in a previous report that recent, separate water quality reports conducted by the EPA of the village’s treated water shows the chemical is under the limits allowed by the EPA or has also been non-detectable at times. It is “way under the limit for the maximum content level for drinking water,” she said previously.

Meanwhile, Village Administrator Mike Wallace said municipalities are permitted to once again start shutting off people’s water for non-payment. He said the village would begin again on July 20. People received a reprieve from the government because of the coronavirus epidemic and related shutdowns of businesses, which has left many unemployed. However, most businesses have been allowed to reopen in Ohio and the breaks have been lifted.

“We’re going to try and do 10 a day,” Wallace said of the shutoffs.

In other matters, council also approved its estimated budget for 2021. Following the meeting, Treasurer Tom Sable said the total is similar to past budgets. The current year’s budget was estimated at $3.65 million.

Also, Wallace said he wanted to thank ICR of Bellaire for allowing the village to use one of its brush cutters and mowers. He noted Bellaire police Chief Dick Flanagan did the work on a section of Ohio 149 and another location.

Council also held a closed-door session to discuss personnel and legal matters. No related action was taken during the open portion of the meeting.

Council has canceled next week’s meeting and plans to meet again at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 in its chambers.


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