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Some good news was delivered recently to the Napoleon Water, Sewer, Recycling, Refuse and Litter Committee concerning the plan to reduce sewer overflows.

For more than a year the city has been renegotiating with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a long-term control plan (LTCP) to reduce the amount of untreated sewer overflows into the Maumee River.

The original 20-year plan was instituted a little more than 11 years ago in an effort to reduce the amount of raw, untreated sewage entering the Maumee River. In years past, during particularly heavy rainfalls, untreated sewage would be dumped into the river to avoid backups.

Many of the LTCP projects have involved separating the city’s storm sewers from sanitary sewers. Until then, the sewers were simply one line. The cost was originally estimated at about $30 million, but city officials said this week Napoleon has already spent between $25-$30 million on the projects.

Much of that cost has been made up in city sewer rates.

There were several projects left to go on the original plan, but city officials have convinced the EPA to forego many of those projects and allow Napoleon to focus on the waste water treatment plant.

Officials estimated another $31 million would have been spent on the sewer projects had the plan remained in place.

“We successfully negotiated with them (the EPA),” said City Manager Joel Mazur.

Mazur said the city still has to replace the Williams pump station (estimated cost $1.3 million); eliminating the Haley sanitary sewer overflow (SSO); replacing the Van Hyning pump station; relief and eventual elimination of another SSO on Glenwood Avenue; and East and West Washington Street interceptor improvements.

“Downtown, there are a lot of the older brick sewers, there is a need for relieving that bottleneck,” Mazur said.

In addition, Napoleon was granted approval to include the proposed rehabilitation to the waste water treatment plant as part of the long-term control plan. Mazur said that should help when it comes time to apply for loan funding for that $12.5 million project.

“So, overall, total project cost (for the LTCP) is somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million, including the waste water treatment plant, as opposed to $31 million, not including the waste water treatment plant,” Mazur said.

Napoleon Public Works Director Chad Lulfs also pointed out the $31 million estimated left in the LTCP was for sewer work only.

“When I go out there and rip out a sewer and have to replace the street, that didn’t include all the street costs,” Lulfs said.

The rehabilitation of the waste water treatment plant is being proposed to be done in three phases. Coming up first will be cleaning the digester, which is expected to cost about $600,000.

The second phase will replace the presses used at the plant to squeeze water out of the solids, and the third phase will relocate the head works of the plant.

Property has already been purchased near the plant for the third phase.

Mazur said the city has been pre-approved for a loan of up to $12.5 million for the waste water treatment project, though terms of the loan have not yet been set.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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