Campbell water treatment plant needs millions in upgrades - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Campbell water treatment plant needs millions in upgrades

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CAMPBELL, Ohio -

While it's not being characterized as a water emergency, the city of Campbell says some tough decisions need to be made regarding the future of the cities water treatment plant and distribution system. 

Joe Tovarnak, Campbell's Water Facility Superintendent laid out the issues in front of about 60 people at a public town hall Thursday night. 

"Our water plant was constructed for the rules of 1973, not for 2017," said Tovarnak.

He showed pictures of the aging and in some cases failing infrastructure. Council President George Levendis chimed in.

"You guys go down to that plant and look at the machinery, it is antique," said Levendis. "If I had that kind of equipment with what I do for a living, I'd be out of business in five minutes."

Tovarnak says the plant is in such bad shape, it needs $6 -$8 million in upgrades and $50 - $100,000 thousand required annually for facility operation and maintenance. And that's just for the treatment plant, Tovarnak says 98% of the distribution system is over 100 years old and needs $2 - $4 million in upgrades and $100 - $300,000 thousand required annually for system improvements.

Not to mention, the water fund has ended in the red the last two years.

"Our general fund is taking a beating because of our water plant," said Levendis.

Residents were told about 4 possible options. Do nothing, finance the work themselves, sell the plant and distribution system or buy bulk treated water.

If citizens want to keep the plant, city council said it would require a 10 mil levy that would cost the homeowner of a $100,000 home around 30 dollars a month.

"I don't know how many senior citizens can take this burden, but these are factual numbers," said Levendis.

Some residents, including John Rentes, questioned if it would still be enough.

"What guarantee and I know you can't give me a guarantee that that money is going to be enough money to fix this plant so its whatever plus, A-plus or whatever the heck it is," said Rentes.

It was a guarantee council couldn't make, but advised that tough decisions need to be made now. 

"The problem is we kicked the can down the road to far."

Aqua Ohio has sent Campbell a letter of interest in purchasing their plant and water system. They are offering $7 million. Many residents don't trust Aqua Ohio and didn't support that option because of a concern over large water rate hikes. Levendis says if a levy fails, that may be the only option. 

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