Thursday, May 15, 2003

Clermont to cancel wastewater contract



By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - Clermont County commissioners Wednesday approved a resolution to terminate the county's agreement with Earth Tech Inc., which operates the county's wastewater treatment facilities and sewer-collection system.

Tom Yeager, director of the county's Utilities Department, said Wednesday that the Clermont Sewer District has expanded its facilities since the county entered into its five-year contract with Earth Tech in 2000.

Besides the expansion, the sewer district also has made significant changes in the way it regulates storm water and environmental conditions, Yeager said.

The county had the choice to either seek new bids for the service or reclaim wastewater operations as a result of the termination of its contract with Earth Tech.

The county and Earth Tech reached a mutual agreement to end the contract after a dispute about the costs and types of services Earth Tech would provide, officials said.

The agreement was reached last November.

Residents should not expect an increase in the amount they pay for water and sewer services.

An analysis of "the costs and coordination efforts involved ... determined that internal operation would be feasible with the current rates," officials said.

Currently, users pay about $4 per 1,000 gallons of water used.

"The end result of this resolution is to provide our customers with the best service possible, at a reasonable cost, while maintaining and expanding the infrastructure for the needs of the future," Yeager said.

He added that any changes would have little or no effect on service.

He recommended to Commissioners Bob Proud, Mary Walker and Scott Croswell that the board approve an additional $100,000 to the operating budget to cover the county's costs of maintaining the wastewater and collection systems.

Earth Tech, of Grand Rapids, Mich., will continue to operate the county's sewer district until Sept. 1.

Sewer district employees who work for Earth Tech, Yeager added, will have an opportunity to fill any available positions created by the change of service to the county.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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