Leetonia council gets better look at utilities on map

LEETONIA- Village council has a better picture of the GPS mapping of the village’s water and sewer system from the past year.

David Garretson of Ohio RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Program) presented data and mapping collected and developed over the past year as part of a state grant to provide a geographic information system (GIS) that plots village’s water and sewer lines and water assets such as hydrants and valves. The grant, $6,500 matched by the village, includes a maintenance agreement allowing for a data update every six months.

According to Garretson, the program provides an “editable and improvable” map with a limitless amount of layers, so that is can be continuously updated, and offers a big picture of all the utilities and village owned properties. Currently gas data is not available due to propriety issues, but should be at some point, he said.

Garretson said the village is enrolled in RCAP’s cooperative services program which includes updates, web hosting, water and sanitary networks, annual reports and tech support and training. He also explained that RCAP holds no propriety rights to the data which is backed up on computers, a server and a hosting site.

Ultimately the program streamlines the water and sewer department, making repairs easier to anticipate and complete. The program can isolate specific information so that during emergencies employees can quickly and efficiently locate where to shut off lines. The age of lines can also be mapped and breaks can be plotted so the departments know when the lines should be replaced, Garretson said, adding that photos and manuals can be attached to the map so that employees can see what a valve, line or other asset looks like. The program also helps with training because employees can see the system on a screen before going into the field.

“It gives us a better feel for the system,” said Gary Phillips, village administrator.

Currently RCAP is working with village administration to add village owned property, mines and trees to the map.