MIDDLEPORT — While there are still a few minor things remaining to be done, for all practical purposes Middleport’s $7 million sewer system upgrade project will be finished by the end of the year.
That was the word from Middleport Mayor Mike Gerlach last week when talking about the project, all paid for through an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) loan forgiveness program and other grant money, which got under way in November, 2011.
Several years ago, the village received a mandate from the EPA to upgrade its sewer system and stop the flow of untreated sewage into the Ohio River. However, it was only last year that the village was able to secure funding to carry out the work required to satisfy EPA regulations.
As for what remains to be done to finish the project, handled at no cost to the village or its residents, Gerlach said “There’s some small (maintenance) equipment to come in yet, like a track hoe, they are still working on the final hookup at the lift station, and that’s it for now. Then the workers will come back in the spring and finish repairing the streets.”
Some of the street repair work done this fall has now settled into the deep trenches dug to lay pipe and will require additional work when the weather warms up. In some places the settling has dropped a section of the street down about four inches, creating quite a bump. At a construction meeting last week, Gerlach said the matter was discussed and the decision for fixing the problem put on hold until spring.
Meanwhile, he said the village may have to do something temporarily to alleviate the problem. “But the good thing about all this is if there is additional settling, it can be corrected by them when they come back in the spring.”
Work on the massive sewer project was handled by Mike Enyart and Sons, Inc., the general contractor. As a part of the overall project and provided for in the forgiven EPA loan was the purchase of equipment needed to maintain the system once completed. Most of that equipment has now been secured and that building in which to store it has been built.
The scope of the program included expanding the sewer system’s ability to keep untreated water from overflowing into the Ohio River. Gerlach said it also solved some mine water runoff problems in the upper section of the village. The mine water, which does not have to be treated before being dumped into the Ohio River, was going directly into the sewer system’s water which requires treatment.Now the mine water runoff has separate lines taking that water directly to the river, which cuts the village’s cost of treating it.