Firm to perform study key to well ordinance

MARIETTA – A Westerville firm will be tapped to provide a comprehensive study that’s key to development of a Marietta city well field protection ordinance.

Bennett and Williams Environmental Consultants Inc. will perform the study at a cost of $103,000, according to Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, who chaired city council’s water, sewer and sanitation committee meeting Wednesday.

“We’ve been working on a well field ordinance because the plan we have now has no teeth in it at all to protect our well field,” he said. “If the wells become polluted we need to provide for restitution from anyone who caused the pollution.”

Although the wellfield protection plan addresses contamination of the city’s drinking water wells, the plan gives water superintendent Jeff Kephart no authority to enforce those regulations.

McCauley said a comprehensive wellfield protection ordinance would provide the city with the ability to assess penalties and seek restitution for any violations of the protection plan.

“What the city lacks is a wellfield management plan, which could take the form of a wellfield protection ordinance,” said Linda Aller with Bennett and Williams.

She said a management plan would include monitoring of the wellfield, education of the public to avoid contamination of the area, a contingency plan in case a major pollution of the field would occur, and remediation of any potential contamination.

McCauley said Bennett and Williams had submitted the low bid after a request for proposals for the study was sent out earlier this year.

Although McCauley had hoped the study would be completed by Dec. 31, Aller said there is no way the work could be done within that time frame.

“That’s because this will require a lot of data collection and obtaining information before the study can start,” she said. “But we’ll do the work as quickly as we can.”

Council’s finance committee members agreed to appropriate a total $109,500 for the project, including $103,000 for the Bennett and Williams contract and an additional $6,500 to cover optional work sessions with the water, sewer and sanitation committee.

In other business Wednesday, the finance committee agreed to a refunding of nearly $2.9 million in 2003 municipal bonds that would save the city more than $174,000 over the next eight years, according to a presentation by Andy Brossart with Fifth Third Securities, Inc.

Also on Wednesday the finance committee agreed to move $44,000 out of the city’s capital improvement account to support the recreation fund, which is lagging due to a drop in aquatic center revenue following a swimming season plagued by inclement weather.

“This transfer is the only way the recreation fund will be able to make it until the next swimming season,” said finance chairman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.

The money will be used for maintenance and upgrades at the aquatic center.