Softer water focus of Greene County project

Greene County residents are one step closer to having softer water.

Greene County commissioners on Thursday approved a design-build team for the water treatment plant expansion and water softening project. The contract was awarded to Shook Construction and engineering firm AECOM. Negotiations on a price for the design will begin next week, said Jason Tincu, the director of the Greene County Sanitary Engineering department.

Tincu said it will likely cost the county less than $2 million for Shook and AECOM to take the design to 60%.

Construction of the plant expansion could start at the end of 2021 or early 2022, with the plant being operational by the middle of 2023, Tincu said. The plant expansion is expected to cost about $30 million, Tincu said on Thursday.

The project will expand the water treatment plant’s capacity from nine million gallons of water per day to 12 million per day. The project will also encompass adding water softening technology to the process.

Full-scale upgrades to existing infrastructure will be made. A new membrane building will also be built at the plant. Greene County is targeting the same hardness as Dayton and Montgomery County, Tincu said.

Shook and AECOM were selected for three design-build teams. Tincu hopes once the project is completed, Greene County homes will be able to phase out in-home softeners or at least turn them down significantly, saving homeowners time and money.

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Tincu said the county will also start replacing about 27,000 water meters at homes by June of this year. It will take about a year for all meters to be replaced.

That project will cost $6 million, Tincu said.

Customers will have access to a new interface, which hasn’t been selected yet, that will be able to tell them about their water usage, Tincu said. Also this year, Greene County will continue work in 2021 on a new wellfield on Hilltop Road, Tincu said. The new wellfield will be able to produce between 3 million and 5 million gallons of water a day, which will enable Greene County to get off its reliance on the Montgomery County and Dayton water system.

This summer, Tincu said he would present a potential water rate increase to commissioners. The water rate increase would take place in 2022 or 2023. The increase would be about 1%, Tincu told commissioners on Thursday. Along with the water rate increase, the sewer rate would decrease.