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Sewer problems stall growth
Plant upgrades offer hope
BY TERRY FLYNN The Cincinnati Enquirer Monday, March 20, 2000
ALEXANDRIA Mayor Dan McGinley's frustration is obvious as he discusses the city's sewer and water treatment woes, which have halted all residential and commercial development in Alexandria and surrounding southern Campbell County.
But he also sees a glimmer of hope coming from plans for a new sewage treatment plant and the possibility of interim upgrades to the existing treatment facility.
Because the Alexandria treatment plant along Brushy Creek continually overflows from storm water and sends raw sewage toward the Ohio River every time there's a heavy rain, the Kentucky Division of Water has placed a moratorium on new sewer hookups.
No sewer means no new home construction, and no new businesses such as stores, restaurants and manufacturing facilities adding to Alexandria's economy.
A new treatment plant could be almost 10 years away, but we're hoping that we'll see some short-term upgrades to the Alexandria plant to help us, Mr. McGinley said.
He added later: We don't want to be overcrowded, or have too many stores and businesses, but there is definitely room for growth, especially residential growth, in Alexandria.
Jeff Eger, executive director of Sanitation District No.1, which controls the sewer and storm water in Alexandria and the rest of Northern Kentucky, said there is a real possibility that an interim solution to the Alexandria problem is perhaps a year away.
The Division of Water won't permit any temporary repairs or solutions for the Alexandria treatment plant until we provide them with our completed 20-year master plan, which includes plans for the construction and operation of new treatment plants in Boone and Campbell counties, he said.
Mr. Eger said the district hopes it can identify new treatment plant sites for Boone and Campbell counties soon and have its master plan, which includes rehabilitating the existing Alexandria facility, delivered to the Division of Water by this summer.
Then there will be about six months of review, he said. By next year we could then begin implementation of the Boone County plant and any interim solutions for Campbell County.
A committee of 12 persons, formed by the Sanitation District to provide comments about site selection and intended as a cross-section of Campbell County, met for the first time Thursday.
The committee's charge is to consider plans for the plant and various locations, eventually providing a report with recommendations to the Sanitation District board.
The district's main focus is to get things going in Campbell County, said committee member Dallas Bray, owner of Bray Trucking and a southern Campbell County resident.
We have to start at a point and then work back to where we actually need to be to fix what needs to be fixed.
Mr. McGinley said there is no secret about what repairs and upgrades are necessary at the Alexandria treatment plant before the state will lift the sanctions on sewer hookups.
We have to prevent the storm water from reaching the plant or, if it does, we have to be able to deal with it, he said.
We must expand the existing plant, possibly with an equalization system to hold back the excess storm water when there is a heavy rain. What we can't do is wait for a new plant for maybe 10 years.
Mr. Eger said there are alternatives for dealing with the Campbell County problem, including using the existing Alexandria plant as a potential site of the new facility.
If that were the case, if the site committee recommended the present plant location, we could move with interim improvements to correct the problem until the new facility was built.
He said there are always drawbacks as well as positive elements to any location, and that includes the Alexandria location.
Development could occur in other areas of the county that would require the waste water being pumped to the Alexandria site, he said. Assuming the plant was closer to the Ohio River, it could eliminate the need for any pump stations, since the flow would be controlled by gravity.
The new Campbell County treatment plant would either replace or eliminate the Alexandria plant as well as package treatment facilities at the Kahn's processing plant in Claryville and at Pond Creek.
Meanwhile, Mr. McGinley and the Alexandria business community can only wait for something to happen to eliminate the development moratorium.
We've had people make inquiries and even made application for development, only to find out they can't get sewer, the mayor said.
Opening up the sewer tie-ins would obviously expand our tax base with new development, but it's more than that. The feeling of growth and progress just isn't here now.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 20, 2000