Consider Water System Options

Any questions about whether Steubenville officials need to take a comprehensive look at the city’s water system have been answered during the past several days.

Shipments of bottled water into the municipality, use of mobile water tanks downtown and temporary closures of some businesses and schools because no water was available make it clear Steubenville has a problem.

After several days of repairing leaks in water lines, it appears what City Manager Jim Mavromatis termed a crisis is winding down. Mavromatis reported Tuesday the water tank serving the city’s low-pressure distribution system, the one used by the vast majority of residents and businesses, was being refilled.

“We have an old system that should have been replaced years ago, and now we are dealing with the aging pipes and valves,” Mavromatis said of the problem.

Some members of Steubenville City Council believe a major water system improvement project is needed. “If raising the rate or putting an infrastructure charge in place is the answer, then we need to do it,” commented Councilman Eric Timmons. “The entire water system needs an overhaul,” he added.

Municipal officials need to know precisely how the water system stands and what options are available to ensure reliable water service to Steubenville residents and businesses.

Obviously, as Mavromatis noted, aging water lines and valves are a concern. Recent problems appear to have involved distribution of water, not the treatment system.

No one likes to talk about making it more expensive to live or do business in a city. Clearly, however, Steubenville officials need to be looking at what it will take — and what it will cost utility customers — to ensure treated water is available and can be delivered in the city.