BELPRE - Current and future businesses along Ohio 7 may receive an infrastructure boost from the City of Belpre as discussions move forward on the expansion of sewer lines out of city limits.
"In the last few months the need for solid wastewater lines along (Ohio) Route 7 for plants and other businesses has grown and we are happy to help," said Mayor Mike Lorentz.
There are 14 businesses on the state roadway between Moore's Junction near River Lane and the southernmost intersection with Blue Knob Road, said Terry Tamburini, executive director of the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority.
All of these businesses were invited to informational discussions regarding the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's request for facilities to use more environmentally friendly wastewater facilities than individual septic systems.
"After all was said and done, six of those businesses are interested in what Belpre is willing to offer, which is great," Tamburini said.
The other eight facilities already have their own sewer systems and do not need to be tapped in to Belpre's system, he continued.
The six businesses that have not only shown interest in the plan, but have also paid a total of $14,900 for the initial engineering on the project are Wetz Warehousing, Iddings Trucking, Hilltop Speedway, Eramet, R&J Trucking and Asphalt Materials. If other businesses in the area would like to join the wastewater line in the future, they will be able to, Tamburini added.
The plans are in the early engineering phase to see if the plan of extending Belpre's wastewater line another three-and-a-half miles from the end near the Camelot Homes location on Ohio 7 north to Eramet, which has an address of 16705 Ohio 7 in South Marietta.
While this project is expected to build more than three miles of sewer lines, it will extend the city's wastewater infrastructure about six-and-a-half miles beyond Belpre's city limits.
"We already have sewer lines beyond the city limits in a number of different directions, so I don't see a problem with extending the north line further," Lorentz said. "I am not seeing any negatives in doing this."
Belpre and the businesses have been working with the Washington County Ohio State University Extension's Economic Development Office and the port authority on this project.
The port authority is acting as the go-between for the funds because the city cannot be given money by the companies for this or similar projects, Tamburini said.
Both Lorentz and Tamburini said the project, which not only includes extending the sewer line several miles, but also the construction of a lift station to aid the waste flow to the Belpre Sewage Treatment Plant on Blennerhassett Avenue, will be funded through grants and the businesses.
"It won't cost Belpre anything," Lorentz said.
The city will also not be burdened by the added wastewater being treated by its plant, as the city's public works supervisor Mike Betz assured Lorentz there will be no issues.
"Even adding these six businesses to our lines, we won't even be at 50 percent capacity at the sewer plant," Lorentz said.
Tamburini said Belpre was the only option for this project because of the city's proximity to the locations and the fact it already has wastewater lines in that direction.
"The fact that Belpre is cooperating with this request shows how helpful the city traditionally is," Tamburini said. "Infrastructure has to get to that area of the county and Belpre's willingness to be a good neighbor is great."
The initial engineering plans are expected to be finished by late November and if all goes as planned, the project will likely be finished in 2015.