Campbell, Youngstown agree to bolster water security
By Graig Graziosi
The city of Campbell has only one source of water; if it were disrupted by an algae bloom or a line failure, the city would effectively be cut off from potable water.
An agreement between Campbell and Youngstown is being implemented to help mitigate the risk of such an incident.
The Youngstown-Campbell Interconnection Project – which was put out for bid earlier this month – will provide Campbell with a second source of water while also increasing Youngstown’s water security.
The project was championed by Joe Tovarak, Campbell’s water superintendent, after seeing the impact of a catastrophic algal bloom in Toledo that cut off more than 500,000 people from potable water in 2014.
Campbell purchases raw water from Aqua Ohio, a private water distributor, and treats the water in its own facilities. With the interconnection project, the city aims to build lines that connect to water from Youngstown. In the event the city’s ability to purchase water from Aqua Ohio is disrupted, clean water would still be available from Youngstown.
“It’s all about being proactive,” Tovarnak said. “You need redundancies in systems to mitigate risk.”
The project will be paid in full through the use of a zero percent interest loan through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The loan is a part of the EPA’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account Harmful Algal Bloom funding, which was offered after the Toledo algal bloom incident to help ensure municipalities throughout the state had funding to protect their water supplies.
“As soon as we found out about that funding, we jumped to get this project moving,” Tovarnak said.
Though the project is intended to protect Campbell, in the event of a disruption to Youngstown’s water supply, Campbell can sell its treated water back to Youngstown.
“We’re obviously much smaller than Youngstown and couldn’t sustain the entire city, but we’d be able to pump upwards of a million gallons a day if necessary,” Tovarnak said.
Chris Tolnar, an engineer with GPD Group who fills the role of city manager for Campbell, said once the Ohio EPA approves a bid and issues the city a loan, the project will have a 60- to 90-day completion schedule.
“It’ll take about a month to get the loan sorted, but once we have the money, we should have the project done by the end of the year,” he said.