Youngstown City Council gave the thumbs up to put $3 million towards a wet water facility. This is part of the city's wastewater improvement project.

This comes as the city is working to alter a consent decree because of pricey improvement costs. With the first phase of the project already completed, the council passed a preliminary measure to keep the project moving. 

The ordinance enters into a contract with the most qualified consultant to analyze and develop alternative control measures at Combined Sewer Overflow.

"We have a plan and we need to follow through with it to eliminate these combined sewage overflows," said Councilman Mike Ray.

The EPA has encouraged the City of Youngstown to construct a wet weather facility to treat excess combined sewage overflows during storms where Crab Creek and the Mahoning River meet downtown. The entire project comes in with a price tag of $240 million.

"We have completed Phase #1 which is upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant," explained Chuck Shasho, Deputy Director of Public Works. "We're in the design right now of Phase #3 which is the elimination of all the overflows in Mill Creek Park. This legislation that was passed tonight [Wednesday] will give us the ability to begin Phase #2."

Shasho and some council members agree there could be alternative options to this concern that are possibly less costly to the city.

"We're in the process of redoing the hydrologic and hydrologic model of our system," Shasho explained. "And with that new data, we expect that we may have a more cost-effective solution.

The city is in federal court hoping to reduce the magnitude of the project's requirements. The city offered to build a storage bin or add a less expensive treatment facility, in ways to save money.

"If you look at our water bills, we are putting a lot on the backs of our residents and it's very costly," Ray added. "But I think that we can reach reasonable conclusions or find better ways to get the end goal which is to eliminate combined sewage overflow."

Council also approved over $1.2 million in ARP funded projects during Wednesday's council meeting.