Project a go but still not flowing yet

Some bids were higher than expected and one project attracted no bids.
LAKE MILTON -- A long-awaited project to bring waterlines and sanitary sewers to residents in areas near Lake Milton is progressing, but no start date has been announced for either component because some bids have come in higher than expected.
A standing-room-only crowd attended an informational meeting Thursday at Milton Township's new fire station, 15980 Milton Ave., to hear several officials speak on the two parts of the project. They also learned about programs available to help them with various costs once the lines have been installed.
Joe Warino of the Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer's office said that during the past few weeks, bids totaling about $14 million were accepted for both.
The total amount of bids for five of the six phases of the sewer project exceeded the engineer's estimate by more than 10 percent. By law, those bids have to be rejected and new ones submitted, which delayed that part of the project. Looking at new bids for the five could take place in about a month, Warino said.
One contract for the sanitary sewers attracted no bidders, said Kelly Hettick of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bids for the water and sewers were funded separately, he said.
Bids for the water part of the project, however, came in around $500,000 under the engineer's estimate, but that estimate was higher than the allotted funding, he continued. Additional funding will need to be secured, Warino added.
"We're moving as quickly as possible," he said.
Once the water lines and sewers are finished, Warino noted, homeowners will be responsible for various fees. For the sewers, the permit fee will be $1,300. Customers would pay an additional $500 to $800 to abandon their septic tank and $1,000 to $1,500 to run a line from their home to the street.
For water, a $1,500 connection fee as well as an additional $1,200 to $1,500 to run a line from the residence to the street will be imposed, he said.
Applications were available after the meeting for residents interested in applying for various grants, loans and funds. Warino, Hettick and Tom Supko Jr., compliance officer for Farmers National Bank, outlined several.
Communities served
Once completed, the $14.5 million project will provide water and sewer lines to areas surrounding the east and west sides of Lake Milton, including about 1,300 homes in Milton and Jackson townships and Craig Beach. It includes an elevated water tank on Mahoning Avenue that should be ready by the end of the month. The tank should bring better water pressure to residents as well as another water source for firefighters.
The project is necessary partly because the Mahoning County Board of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency deemed that unsafe discharge has been flowing into Lake Milton. Many residents use wells and septic tanks, some of which are faulty and have been leaking for years.
Extending new sewer lines will eliminate the faulty tanks, officials said.
In addition, water quality in some sections of the communities has been poor for years. The supply and pressure have been low and that negatively affects development in the areas, sanitary engineer's officials said.

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