Butler Twp. budget includes money for ‘forever chemicals’ evaluation, plans for Benchwood Station

Butler Twp. will begin the design phase of its planned improvement project for the Miller Lane business district, to be renamed Benchwood Station, this year.

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Butler Twp. will begin the design phase of its planned improvement project for the Miller Lane business district, to be renamed Benchwood Station, this year.

BUTLER TWP. — Butler Twp. Board of Trustees recently approved its operating budget for 2022, which includes $820,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

A portion of the township’s ARPA funds, around $409,000, has been proposed to go toward contracted services to further evaluate and analyze the extent of the so-called “forever chemicals” contamination in private wells near Aullwood Farm, according to township Administrator Erika Vogel.

In October 2020, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency discovered levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ― or PFAS ― in Aullwood’s drinking water system. The center is located at 9101 Frederick Pike between the city of Englewood on the west and Dayton International Airport to the east.

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The Ohio EPA started testing the state’s 1,553 public drinking water systems at the beginning of 2020 as part of its PFAS action plan, which was developed in 2019. It was during the testing process that the agency discovered the PFAS at Aullwood Farms.

Exposure to PFAS may affect pregnancy, increase cholesterol levels and cause some forms of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infants and children, pregnant and nursing women, and those who have a compromised immune system might be at a higher risk of health effects from PFAS exposure, health officials said.

Vogel said further evaluation of the issue in the area of Aullwood Farm would be conducted with assistance from Montgomery County. Details of this proposed project, as well as the exact cost, have yet to be determined.

The remaining ARPA funds have yet to be appropriated, Vogel said.

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Just over $3 million has been appropriated to the township’s Harson (TIF) fund, out of which will come funding for the next steps in the planned Miller Lane/Benchwood Station improvement project.

The business district, known for its host of restaurants, hotels, stores and service providers, is set for rebranding and infrastructure improvements meant to enhance the area’s image, appeal and accessibility.

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The project, with construction tentatively set to begin in 2023, will incorporate numerous changes to the area — interchange improvements, entryway signage, landscaped medians, a continuous right turn lane from Benchwood Road to head north on Miller Lane, a roundabout at Miller Lane and Maxton Road, additional lighting and street trees along the corridor, plus curb, gutter and sidewalk additions.

The design phase for the project will take place early this year, Vogel said. The entire project is estimated to cost a total of $4 million, with additional funding coming from grants and existing taxes.

The township has budgeted a total of $1.8 million for the general fund, down from $2.9 budgeted in 2021. Vogel said expenditures this year will include basic building maintenance projects, township vehicle and equipment purchases, and overall improvements and upgrades to technology services with a focus on cyber security.

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