More than 50 residents attended an informational meeting with Mahoning County and township officials about an ongoing sewer project.
Construction began early this year on the South Struthers Interceptor Sewer that will serve Poland Township and take water to the waste plant on Struthers Road, with Phase 1 of the project affecting Struthers and Kennedy roads.
The meeting was prompted after several residents raised concerns at township trustees meetings.
The most frequently asked question has been whether residents with a good septic system can keep it for any length of time after the sewer installation, said Trustee Mark Naples.
Phase 1 of the project will be completed by August, and shortly after that the county board of health will send letters to residents saying that they have 180 days, or six months, to tie into the sewer system, said Robert Lyden, county sanitary engineer.
In Mahoning County, it costs $1,300 for a three-bedroom, single-family dwelling to tap in to the sewer, and that cost rises as the number of bedrooms increases, Lyden said.
A county representative had said previously that the metered, water-consumption rate is $6.60 per 1,000 gallons of usage plus a fixed monthly rate per customer of $5.75.
Many residents were upset with the cost.
Michael Bolevich lives on Arrel Smith Road in a house built in 2009. He installed a $15,000 septic system, with the cost of paying that off attached to his mortgage.
“If we would have known that in 15 months there would be sewer, we would have had temporary holding tanks installed. You can sense my frustration. ... I have to pay $1,300 out of my pocket and you’re talking like this money is a little amount,” Bolevich said.
Mary Helen Smith, environmental health director for the county district board of health, said the board would not have allowed new construction to have holding tanks.
“You are correct that you would have to tie on,” she said to Bolevich.
Lyden said Bolevich had “the ultimate bad luck and circumstance.”
Low-interest loans are available for residents who qualify based on annual income, Smith said.
Information about the sewer project, guidelines for low-interest loans and a list of licensed installers to connect to the sewer will be available at the township building on Dobbins Road by the end of this week.