Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

County accepts state grant for treatment train

Funds to be used to buy property

By Shelley Grieshop
CELINA - Mercer County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement to accept more than $415,000 in state funds to buy land for a proposed treatment train at Coldwater Creek.
The grant agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission brings local officials one step closer to building the estimated $2.5 million project near the intersection of Coldwater Creek and Johnston roads, south of Celina in Butler Township.
"There's some permits we need to get ... but we hope to get bids this spring and have the work going by this summer," county community development director Jared Ebbing said on Tuesday.
The $415,318 will be used to buy 40 acres of land from Rick Uppenkamp for the project located south of Coldwater Creek with an extension east of U.S. 127, along West Bank Road.
"The site is dominated by hydric soils, which will support the restoration of nearly 30 acres of historic wetlands," the OPWC agreement states about the area west of Johnston Road.
Commissioners last year applied for the grant because the local Lake Facilities Authority - which now oversees funding and other action to improve the lake's water quality - was not yet officially formed.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources in its 2013 budget earmarked $2.1 million for the Coldwater Creek treatment train. Commissioners received the ODNR funds last fall.
Officials hope the Coldwater Creek project, as well as an operating one at Prairie Creek in Franklin Township and several others being planned, will help remove phosphorous from the tributaries that flow into Grand Lake and feed its toxic blue-green algae.
Coldwater Creek has been dubbed the most polluted of all Grand Lake tributaries.
The proposed project at Coldwater Creek involves pumping about 8 million gallons of water per day from the waterway and through various filtering basins and cells in a 252-acre lot to nearby Grassy Creek before flowing into the lake.
The OPWC agreement notes "the formerly conventionally tilled cropland will be seeded to native grasses, trees and shrubs" and managed for wildlife habitat, wetlands preservation and a passive recreational area with permission hunting.
A second section of the treatment train would be built where Coldwater Creek flows into the lake. About 250 acres jutting out from the shoreline from the southern tip of West Bank Road south to the county wildlife refuge would be dredged and transformed into a littoral wetland restoration zone, officials said.
The created oval-shaped area would be filled with various types of filtering plants such as lily pads.
Also planned this year is a treatment train at Beaver Creek between Guadalupe Road and Montezuma on about 50 acres of county-owned land to the south of Lakefield Airport. Officials hope to fund the estimated $320,000 project in Franklin Township with an Ohio EPA 319 program grant.
"It's called a treatment train but it's not going to be like the other treatment trains," Ebbing said.
Natural flowing water is currently pumped off the land, which is used to produce crops, he said. Officials plan to return the property to its natural wetlands state by planting switchgrass.
"There will be no more pumping of water from the fields. We'll allow the water to naturally flow, to bleed in and out of the natural wet area," Ebbing said.
The switchgrass, he said, will serve two purposes: to filter the water before it flows back into Beaver Creek and reduce the bird population and the hazards they can cause at the airport.
The idea for the project design was adopted from a model used at the Dayton International Airport, Ebbing said.
EPA calls the local project the Beaver Creek vegetation bio-filter treatment train, he added.
Treatment trains also are planned near Big Chickasaw and Little Chickasaw creeks.
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - A Piqua man was sentenced to the maximum of 11 years in prison by Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Ingraham on Tuesday afternoon. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
CELINA - One game had just wrapped up and another was already starting. The Breakaway RexPlex was vibrant as two teams took the field. The goalies were on the balls of their feet in the nets as the forwards readied themselves for the referee's whistle.
ROCKFORD - Facing no public opposition, village council Tuesday night approved first reading of two ordinances to add $10 a year to residents' license fees.
MINSTER - Council members voted Tuesday night to devote more income tax revenue this year to day-to-day operations and less to capital improvements.
CELINA - Mercer County Commissioners - with the blessing of health department officials - on Tuesday opted not to pursue an operating permit for the county-owned 4-H campground.
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However, the Spartans closed strong in the fourth quarter and exited the Fieldhouse with 71-57 victory Tuesday night.
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