By Josh Yoder
On a bright, sunny, cold morning in Mt. Hope last Thursday, October 18, the Holmes County Commissioners unveiled the completion of their latest project, the county’s newest wastewater treatment facility behind Genie Garage Door.
“We’re doing this so we can keep growing our community,” said Commissioner Joe Miller, who addressed the public in attendance. “There are already buildings going up in Mt. Hope that wouldn’t have been able to if we hadn’t done this.”
The county operates six wastewater treatment facilities: Loudonville, Holmes County Home/Sherriff Office, Walnut Creek, Berlin, Winesburg and Mt. Hope. Four years ago, it became evident to engineer Chris Young that if Mt. Hope was going to get any bigger, it needed to update its wastewater treatment facility. So, while he organized the project and contracted two facility operators, Kevin Beam, and Chad Curry, the commissioners got to work pulling together the more than $2,000,000 necessary to complete it.
Half a million came from Ohio Public Works grants, with $200,000 coming from the Governor’s office and another $1.1 million in zero-interest loans and $250,000 of the district’s money to round out the total. Lying outside of the commissioners’ responsibilities to the county, the sewer district is strictly funded by user and hookup fees – which haven’t been raised in eight to 10 years, according to Miller.
“We’re not making money off of this,” Miller said. “We’re not using taxpayer money for this; it sustains itself.”
The project turns Mt. Hope’s rainwater stream into a wetland that rests just outside of the facility. The environment is already seeing new flora and will have 100 trees planted in November.
The gravity-fed system feeds the town’s waste into a “Muffin Monster,” which grinds up the bigger things that people flush, before sending it through a screening system that takes out the particles that can’t be treated by the plant, like pieces of trash.
The plant’s filtering system has also been upgraded from the obsolete sand-pit filters to disc filters, in which a vacuum within a large disc sucks water in while the filter surrounding the disc sends everything else to the bottom of the tank, where it can be removed from the plant and repurposed locally as fertilizer.
“It takes a team to build a plant, and it takes a community and vision from the commissioners to make it possible,” Young said.
This story originally appeared in the October 24, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.