Officials hope to start construction late this year.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
WELLSVILLE -- Columbiana County water district officials are abandoning stalled negotiations for water with a North Carolina company interested in building a $600 million power plant in the county.
The Buckeye Water District must move ahead with plans for a new water treatment plant, Al DeAngelis, district manager, said today.
Cogentrix Energy Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., had expressed interest in paying to have the water plant built large enough to treat about 12 million gallons of water daily.
Cogentrix wanted the water to serve a power plant it wants to build in Center Township.
But repeated efforts to contact the company lately to negotiate have failed, DeAngelis said.
"We have to go forward," DeAngelis said. "We can't wait to see what they're going to do."
Finalizing the deal
Cogentrix is being purchased for $415 million by Aquila Inc., a Kansas City, Mo.-based energy company. The deal is expected to be finalized by September.
A Cogentrix spokesman was unavailable this morning, but Cogentrix and Aquila said after the sale was announced that plans to build a plant in the county are still on the table.
DeAngelis said the water district isn't shutting the door on a water deal with Cogentrix or Aquila. But if the companies are interested, they need to express that.
DeAngelis noted that the plant will be designed to be expandable, in case more treatment capacity is needed in the future.
Right now, the district intends to go ahead with plans for a plant capable of treating about 4 million gallons of water daily, which is plenty for the nearly 10,000 customers it serves in the county's southern reaches.
Paying for the plant
Estimates have placed the cost of a 4-million-gallon-a-day plant that would draw from the Ohio River at about $22 million.
The water district is seeking federal loans and grants to pay for the undertaking.
It also hopes to extend its lines to include more customers and offset plant construction costs.
DeAngelis said he's hopeful that the plant can be paid for without raising water rates.
Officials are hopeful construction can begin late this year. It will take about 18 months to complete.
The new plant will be built along state Route 45 on property lying within both Madison and Yellow Creek townships.