By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
WEST MILTON — Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson visited the village of West Milton on Wednesday presenting a $500,000 award from the H2Ohio program to help fund the installation of a new sewer system connecting Ludlow Falls to the West Milton water treatment plant.
“The H2Ohio fund was proposed by Governor DeWine in March of this year to invest in targeted solutions to help insure safe and clean water for Ohioans across the state,” Stevenson said. “We’re happy that we are able to provide support to the community and address this water quality issue.
The project’s total cost will be approximately $3.1 million. The Ohio EPA has also provided $500,000 in principal forgiveness for the project from the state revolving loan fund, and grants from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the community development block grant program and the Ohio Water Development Authority should cover the remaining project costs.
“The village of Ludlow Falls would like to thank everybody involved with this very important project,” Ludlow Falls Mayor Patricia Neisley said. “We were facing some very difficult decisions, and expensive ones to boot. If it would not have been for the Ohio EPA and West Milton coming together, this project would not be a reality.”
“This is a great relief for both communities,” West Milton Mayor Anthony Miller said. “We appreciate this.”
Approximately 99 homes in Ludlow Falls will be added to the West Milton sewer system.
“West Milton has the capacity to provide sewer service to Ludlow Falls without any impact to West Milton residents,” Miller said. “The current sewer plant can handle 1.2 million gallons per day, and we average 700,000. We only look to add 25-30,000 gallons by tying in with Ludlow Falls.”
Aging home septic systems in Ludlow Falls have contributed to a rise in coliform levels in Ludlow Creek. The idea of extending sewer service from West Milton to Ludlow Falls was originally suggested by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission in 2015. “Their study showed that really the only viable option for our communities was to tie Ludlow Falls into the West Milton sewer system,” Miller said.
“This will have an impact on not only Ludlow Falls, but West Milton as well,” he said. “The aging septic systems in Ludlow Falls presented a potential contamination hazard to Ludlow Creek and the Stillwater River. These bodies are cornerstones of our communities, and represent a part of each community’s identity.”
The project will begin this year, and should be finished sometime before next summer. “We’re hoping to break ground this summer,” Neisley said. “It will probably take about a year.”