Funding Sewer System Plan

It is surprising in a way that no state or federal agency has come down hard on residents of Hannibal, Sardis and Duffy. The three Monroe County communities are adjacent to the Ohio River — and none has a central sewage treatment system.

That could change if a proposal discussed during the Monroe County Commission meeting this week is pursued. For that to happen, a variety of obstacles, including how to pay for sewerage serving the towns, would have to be overcome.

Commissioners met with James Peters, an attorney serving the Ohio and Lee Township Water and Sewer entity; and engineers from the Thrasher Group. The company has worked on several projects in our area.

The situation now is that the three communities deal with sewage through septic systems that are not working adequately. Some homes have no provisions for sewage removal.

Thrasher Group engineer Scott Wangler suggested construction of a gravity feed collection system, using booster pumps, to pipe sewage to a treatment plant across the Ohio River in New Martinsville.

That would cost about $20.8 million, commissioners were told.

Whew. That is a lot of money, given the fact the total population of the two townships is less than 2,000.

No suggestions on how to raise the money have been made, but one thing is certain: If the system is installed, residents of the three towns would have to begin paying bills for the service. “They currently don’t have (bills) and that would add on more pressure for them financially,” Wangler conceded.

The next step, those at the commissioners meeting agreed, is to discuss the proposal with residents of the affected communities. That should be done as soon as possible.

In the meantime, funding sources should be found. Surely state and federal agencies would be interested in sewage treatment for three communities beside the Ohio River. If they are not, it is unlikely residents of Hannibal, Sardis and Duffy will be thrilled with the idea of covering the entire cost themselves.

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