The city of Marietta will replace its treatment plants

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) – The city of Marietta will replace its old water treatment plants with a more modern one.

It is an effort to keep pace with certain contaminants.

According to City Engineer Joe Tucker, the City of Marietta currently has two water treatment plants that are at the end of their useful life.

“One of them was built in 1934. It’s factory number one. And plant number two was built in 1975,” he said.

In 2020 and 2021, the EPA conducted tests, finding small amounts of contaminants in their water supply, according to Tucker. Traces of PFOS were contaminants.

Tucker said the levels weren’t high enough for authorities to act and the water is safe to drink. However, the city does not know whether contaminants are increasing or decreasing, due to limited data, according to Tucker.

He clarified that the testing was not done in response to a local event, but rather was a nationwide EPA initiative based on growing concern about contaminants like PFOS.

The city wants to make sure it’s up-to-date enough to deal with any changes.

Tucker said, “If the action levels become more stringent or, for whatever reason, the contaminant levels increase, this new technology will give us the ability to manage that and manage those contaminants.”

When Tucker talks about “action levels”, he is talking about the level that contaminants must reach before officials are required to act.

Tucker believes the new plant will be more reliable in the future and can better handle certain contaminants, which current plants don’t do much about.

The plan is to start construction in April 2023. Construction will take approximately two years.

Tucker said, “The city is looking at a project that has a total construction cost with contingencies of about $30 million, which is a big expense for a small community like Marietta.”

According to Tucker, the city plans to spread the payments out over 30 years to make the cost more manageable.

Finances have not been finalized, but Tucker said officials are hoping to secure a 0% interest loan from the Ohio EPA.

“It’s a very big project. In fact, I’ve been a municipal engineer since 2005, and this is by far the biggest project we’ve undertaken,” Tucker said.

The city hired an independent person to conduct a water rate study through the Rural Community Assistance Program, according to Tucker. The study examines how to make the project affordable for the community as well as how residents can proactively take care of their water supply in terms of measures such as maintenance.

Officials will discuss how your water rate might be impacted at a meeting on Tuesday, October 11. The final study should then be presented.

The meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam Street.