Washington County officials quiet on lawsuit appeal

MARIETTA — Washington County commissioners have not yet decided whether to appeal a judge’s decision to enforce an EPA ruling to sewer Devola, but at Thursday’s regular meeting they said they would begin looking into finding bond counsel for the sewer plan.

In 2011, an EPA study showed that an excessive amount of nitrates from Devola residents’ septic systems were causing numerous problems.

In a summary judgment from a special judge in Washington County Common Pleas Court last week, the commissioners’ argument that the Putnam County Water Association’s reverse osmosis treatment system lowered nitrates to an acceptable level was dismissed, with a ruling that the installation of a sewer must commence. But the court’s decision allows for an appeal by the commissioners to the ruling.

White said Thursday the commissioners are honoring the court’s judgment to begin the project by finding bond counsel, but the final decision of whether to appeal is still up in the air.

“We have until the 29th (to decide whether or not to appeal),” said Commissioner Ron Feathers. “We are still in discussion with our legal team about what to do.”

White said the decision of whether to appeal will be announced at one of the weekly Thursday commission meetings before the deadline.

Other business discussed Thursday:

* Bids were unsealed for the construction of the new Terri Lane lift station near Little Hocking. The project’s cost was estimated to be $177,250 by ADR and Associates, LTD. The design and engineering firm out of Newark was hired by the county to oversee the planning of the project.

Three bids were received by the county for the project. The first, from the Righter Company out of Columbus was for $186,700. The second, from Larry Lang Excavating of Beverly, was for $175,000. The final bid from SET Inc of Lowellville, was for a total of $254,086.

Damon Fulk, construction services coordinator for ADR, said he will review the bids and the company’s recommendation will be given to the commissioners at next week’s meeting.

Craig Barker, of the Washington County Wastewater Department, said the Terri Lane lift station was the only one of the county’s 22 lift stations that required such drastic rehabilitative measures.

“It’s almost at failure,” he said. “It has to be done.”

* The Fort Frye Cadets football team was recognized for the success of its 2018 season. A resolution from commissioners acknowledged that the Cadets are the first Washington County high school football team to win the Division VI, Region 23 championship.

Commissioner Rick Walters said the team’s performance acted like a glue for area residents.

“It brought communities together,” he said. “People from Waterford supported Fort Frye, Fort Frye supported Waterford, it was nice to see everybody come together.”

A ceremony for the presentation of the resolution to the team is being planned, but no firm date has been set.

* The contract for Phoenix Associates of Parkersburg to begin construction of office space at 311 Third St., in the old Chase Bank drive-thru, was signed. Phoenix’s bid of $74,990 was accepted by the commissioners last month for the project that will begin on Dec. 17, and is scheduled to be completed no later than March 17. The space is tentatively planned to be used by the Washington County Public Defender’s Office.

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