$465,500 grant extends water service

A few dozen houses in Salem and Adams townships will soon be receiving water lines and water service through an Ohio Community Development Block Grant.

The $465,500 grant will help the Highland Ridge Water Association install 43,300 linear feet of waterline, one booster station and two backup generators in the Ohio 530 area.

Highland Ridge Water officials hope to start construction on the project around July 1, said Judy Mercer, office manager at Highland Ridge Water.

“This project will add 39 new customers,” she said.

Currently, some residents of Salem and Adams townships have their water hauled to their homes or get water from a well, she added.

The grant aims to give those residents an option for more efficient and safe water, said Penny Martin, public information officer for the Ohio Development Services Agency, which administers the grant through the Residential Public Infrastructure Program.

“Obviously the health factor is a big part of it. These people are going to benefit from having healthier, treated water,” she said.

The water service will also be a huge convenience, said Salem Township Trustee Bill Kidd, who has benefited from a previous waterline extension project.

“At our farm, we have a well and the well wasn’t sufficient to run the home, so every so often we’d have to have some water hauled in,” he recalled.

A couple years ago, Kidd was able to get Highland Ridge Water Service at the farm and the convenience has been great, he said.

“Another advantage is if the electricity happens to go off, you still have water. Wells are hooked up to the electric usually, so if that goes out you don’t have water,” he said.

That is the purpose of the two backup generators included in the project, noted Mercer.

Adams Township Trustee Wayne Isner also received water service after a waterline extension project a year ago through the Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District.

“It’s been the best thing that ever happened. It’s made 100 percent difference. We went a lot of years without it and boy, I think everybody that got it feels the same way,” he said.

Isner used a cistern and hauled water for years, he said.

“On hot summer days it could never keep up. You always run out at the worst time,” he said.

The new extension will not have any effect on existing rates, which are currently $29 a month for customers using between zero and 2,000 gallons a month, said Mercer.

Highland Ridge Water has estimated the total cost of the project will be around $750,000.

Highland Ridge has been applying for matching funds through the Ohio Water Development Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency, said Mercer. A bid opening for the project is scheduled for today and as of last week, nine contractors had picked up plans for the project, she said.

Highland Ridge Water services about 1,250 Washington County customers in Adams, Salem, Liberty, Lawrence, Fearing and Muskingum townships.