Washingtonville, Leetonia officials to talk water today

WASHINGTONVILLE — Leetonia and Washingtonville officials will meet in the Washingtonville government building to discuss water at noon today.

Mayor Herman Frank, Utilities Superintendent Brian Gudat and Fiscal Officer Dale Davis from Washingtonville will meet with Leetonia Mayor Kevin Siembida, Village Administrator Gary Phillips and Utilities Superintendent Butch Donnalley along with a Jon Vollnogle, president of Howells and Baird of Salem.

At the last meeting, when the condition of the villages’ 100,000-gallon water tower was discussed, Councilman Eric Sobek wondered about merging the two villages and the ensuing discussion led to Frank saying he would set up a meeting with Leetonia officials.

Both villages buy their water from Salem.

“We’ll probably have to put a pressure-relief valve in at some point and a metering device in and see if they charge us the same as Salem,” Frank said, “and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Gudat said, “We’re already connected, we just need upgraded.”

In response to a question from Sobek, Frank said the discussion will be about water only and not about a merger.

“We’re talking about water,” Frank said, “the feeling I get about merging is it’s not a big priority for anyone.”

Frank added, “Leetonia is always helping us with fire with Greenford … (but) to merge with Leetonia we would lose our council, police, water and sewer,” and Council President Ron Stevens piped in, “and also have to pay their taxes” and be responsible for any debt.

Fiscal Officer Dale Davis said the most important thing is “it’s up to the people.”

Sobek asked, “We’re looking at water?” and Frank replied, “We’re looking at if we lose our tower … looking at a deal where we can purchase water from Leetonia for the same price as from Salem and lock in for 99 years … and they (Leetonia) have their feelings too.”

Councilman Al Vignon asked when they would know how bad the tower was. Frank said he spoke with Jon D. Vollnogle, president of Howells and Baird, earlier in the day.

“He’s trying to get some people together,” Frank said, adding, “the last time it was inspected it was pretty good.”

Gudat said, “It’s to the point where you can’t wire brush and paint it, you need to go right down to the metal.”

Councilwoman Peggy Herman wondered about it being lead-based paint and Mayor Frank said it would then require a protective tent around it.

He reminded everyone there was a bubbler that was just installed as a result of the TTHM (trihalomethanes), an issue the village ran into a couple years ago and that was passed along from Salem.

The issue has since been resolved, thanks in part to the bubbler and last June, Gudat said a recent inspection of the water tower found “everything satisfactory.”

The TTHM issue dated to early 2014 when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for trihalomethanes was exceeded based on running annual averages and ordered quarterly monitoring.

The EPA said the compliance standard MCL is 0.080 MG/L and the villages’ annual average during the fourth quarter of 2013 was 0.085 MG/L.

At the time Gudat said the levels didn’t pose an immediate risk to health.

lshields@salemnews.net

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