HUBBARD City puts hold on hookups

The city is still losing 35 percent of the water it buys, or $20,000 per month.
HUBBARD -- A moratorium on utility connections -- sewer, electricity and water -- has been imposed by the chairman of city council's utilities committee.
"What's the point of bringing more customers on if we can't serve them well?" said Councilman William Williams, D-at-large, committee chairman.
"This is not permanent," Williams said. "My responsibility is to the current customers and residents."
Williams explained that the sewage treatment plant is operating near or at capacity because of infiltration into the system.
About 1 million gallons of water infiltration is entering the system daily, he pointed out.
MS Consultants Inc. of Youngstown has been studying the problem since spring to determine the source of the infiltration.
One of the difficulties in finding the source, Williams explained, is that the added water is flowing into the sewer system -- even when it's not raining.
Water loss
Water tap-ins have been eliminated for now because of the continued loss of water.
Last month, the city lost about 35 percent of the water it bought from its wholesale provider, Consumers Ohio Water Co.
Williams said the 35 percent water loss means a decrease of $20,000 of monthly revenue for the city.
Consumers Ohio has offered to study the problem for $20,000, while the city has received a $73,000 bid from Severn Trent Pile Line Services of Fort Washington, Pa. It was the only bid the city received.
Some lawmakers have questioned the use of Consumers Ohio to do the water loss study as a possible conflict of interest, because it is the water supplier.
Williams said he doesn't believe a conflict exists because the city buys 900,000 to 1 million gallons a day and is not billing customers that much.
A billing problem?
Williams noted that he believes the problem is in billing and not water loss.
Regardless, if the city pays $20,000 or $73,000, a study will save the city money in the long run if the difference between what's bought and billed can be found, he said.
New electrical connections can't be made because of a lack of transformers.
Williams explained that there are too many customers being serviced by one transformer, resulting in an interrupted supply of power.
City crews need time to catch up with adding transformers to improve service, noting other work that will be done is connecting Flying J truck plaza in the township to the city electric system.

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