Wastewater plant for Huber, Tipp, Vandalia needs $55-80M upgrade; some rates to rise

Leaders say expansion is needed for any more development to occur; rate survey says area’s costs are currently among lowest

TIPP CITY — City leaders got a look last week at the need to expand and upgrade the Tri-Cities North Regional Wastewater Authority plant at a cost estimated today at $55 million to $80 million.

A project of that size would require rate increases over several years in Tipp City, which partners in the operation with Vandalia and Huber Heights.

“Without this expansion, all entities would need to agree on no more development, as all three pay for the improvements, no matter who grows. I don’t see any one entity taking that stand,” said Tim Eggleston, Tipp City’s city manager.

The Tri-Cities operation and need for growth, now being studied by two firms, was outlined to Tipp City Council by Danny Knife. He is the general manager of the Tri-Cities North Regional Wastewater Facility located off Needmore Road in Dayton.

Study reports from the firms — Hazen and Sawyer and Strand Associates — are expected in spring 2023.

The facility built in 1985 serves 67,000 customers today. The plant was designed to treat 11.2 million gallons of wastewater daily but can receive up to 40 million gallons during rain events.

Knife said the facility capacity is limited hydraulically at the plant and the collection system. Increased state regulations are on the horizon with limits that current infrastructure will not be able to meet without upgrades.

“Our rate structure currently cannot support some of the debt service and projects we have going on to get our plant where it needs to be, so that your industries and your residential areas can continue to grow,” Knight said. “It is time to act now.”

The Tri-Cities rates to the three cities remained the same between 1996 and 2020, Knife said. Increases of 10 percent were approved for 2021 and 2022.

Tipp City does not yet have an estimate on the cost of expansion it would pay, Eggleston said. The three communities pay a percentage based on their flow data.

“The flows can increase or decrease depending on development and controlling inflow and infiltration,” Eggleston said. “The rates will need to be increased each year for a number of years, and what that would be depends on whether Tri-Cities can get some grants to help reduce the cost.”

Knight said grant opportunities continue to be explored for the expansion and other needed projects.

A 2022 rate survey of sewer costs showed Huber Heights, Vandalia and Tipp City were among the local communities with the lowest rates.

Tipp City previously had discussed its need for added wastewater treatment from industries on the west side of Interstate 75. An option was running a line to Troy’s treatment plant, but the city found it would be more cost effective to run a second line to the Tri-Cities facility, Eggleston said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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