Shredded tires will be used instead of gravel to fill around the sewer lines.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County officials have come up with a plan they hope will persuade homeowners to abandon their septic tanks and hook up to county sewer service.
The goal is to protect streams and underground sources of drinking water from being contaminated by leaking septic tanks. The program is a partnership among the county health department, recycling division and sanitary engineer's office.
County commissioners approved the program Thursday.
Homeowners who have septic tanks and live within 200 feet of a county sanitary sewer system can receive up to $600 toward the cost of connecting to the county system this year. The cost generally runs about $1,500.
Recycled materials: The only condition is that they use recycled materials for the project. Harold Moore of the recycling division said that includes plastic sewer laterals and shredded tires for backfill around the sewer lines.
Moore said it's a good way for the county to dispose of used tires, which can't be placed into landfills. About 125,000 tires will be shredded and used for a sewer project in the Damascus area.
Moore said shredded tires are an acceptable alternative to gravel or soil backfill.
Health Commissioner Matthew Stefanak said a $24,000 grant has been secured from the Ohio Department of Development, which will cover the cost of 40 people to hook up to the system. That's just enough to get the project off the ground, though, because there are about 300 eligible properties in Austintown and Boardman alone, he said.
"Those septic tanks aren't going to last forever. They generally malfunction," Stefanak said.
People can enter the program voluntarily or under order from the health department, said Sanitary Engineer Joseph Warino. Those who need assistance to pay the balance of the cost can apply for a low-interest loan from participating local banks.
Economic development: Commissioners also authorized disbursement of $100,000 to the village of Sebring. The money will come from an economic development fund created with revenue from a 0.5 percent county sales tax and be used toward the cost of building a water tank.
The tank is for fire protection at the Little Tikes plant, which is to undergo an expansion of some 270,000 square feet. The village is paying $250,000 of the cost.