Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

State to fund Coldwater Creek treatment train

$2.1M in budget to pay for plan to help Grand Lake

By Shelley Grieshop
CELINA - The state's new two-year budget includes $2.1 million for the development of a treatment train at Coldwater Creek.
The funds to create littoral wetlands and improve the lake's water quality are nearly double the $1.1 million allocated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the first treatment train project at Prairie Creek on the south side of the lake.
State Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, is credited with snagging the dollars for the Coldwater Creek project. He also convinced legislators to dole out $900,000 for a new skimmer dredge, which removes phosphorus and other unwanted nutrients from the surface of the lake, and several hundred thousands of dollars for continued dredging, according to state and local officials.
Faber this morning stressed the new project, like others on the lake, is part of a long-term plan.
"The lake is an ongoing project that will take a while. It's a real commitment ... . "It didn't get this way overnight," he said.
The Coldwater Creek Treatment Train will be constructed at the state wildlife refuge near U.S. 127 and state Route 703, Faber said. The creek enters Grand Lake at that location after crossing under the highway, south of Celina.
Officials haven't announced when the project will begin.
Experts say wetlands act as filters to reduce harmful nutrients such as phosphorous, which is the main nutrient feeding the lake's toxic blue-green algae. Littoral wetlands lined 4,000 acres of Grand Lake's south shoreline more than 80 years ago but disappeared when new housing and other development increased.
Mercer County Economic and Community Development Director Jared Ebbing said the announcement of the second treatment train project is "great news" based on early but promising results at Prairie Creek.
"I believe the success of one will lead to the success of more," he said.
Ebbing hopes the state will eventually help fund treatment trains along Beaver Creek and Big Chickasaw Creek.
Work on the Prairie Creek Treatment Train began more than a year ago along state Route 219, east of Aqua View Estates. On Tuesday, Mercer County Commissioners approved a $241,500 Ohio EPA grant to fund an additional 21.5 acres of littoral wetlands and pay for installation of two alum dosing basins at Prairie Creek.
The expansion project is estimated to cost $411,500; the remaining expenses will be covered by in-kind work, officials said.
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