On April 19, the Village of New Boston issued a public notice explaining that raw sewage from 29 buildings (including businesses, commercial, retail, industrial and apartment buildings) was running into the Ohio River.
As of 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, that sewage has stopped. Originally, Village Administrator Steve Hamilton had hoped to complete the fix within two weeks but thought it was more feasible to allow 30 days for completion. The sewage discharge was stopped in 13 days.
“The sewage now is going to the West Ave. lift station, and it is all going to Portsmouth to be treated,” Hamilton assured. “To find out about this on the 19th of April and have it fixed by the 2nd of May was a huge team effort by the U.S. EPA, DEFA, our engineers-STRAND, our Council and Mayor and Distel Construction for getting the work done that quick. And, I want to thank all who helped in this big endeavor. “
The Village first discovered the sewage issue during phase five of the current sewer project. New Boston operates a sewer system that includes sanitary lines as well as combined sewers that collect both sanitary and storm water. Sewage is collected and pumped to the City of Portsmouth, where it is treated and then discharged.
Over the past several years, New Boston has been undertaking a large Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated sewer upgrade that involves separating storm and sanitary lines, allowing storm water to flow back into the rivers and keeping sanitary sewage out of waterways. A combined sewer system allows for a limited number of overflows into waterways annually and expected during times of excessive rain filling the sewers.
The sanitary outfall currently discharging into the Ohio River is constant, flowing into the river even during dry weather. The Village recently completed phase five of the project, which included dye testing for the project to be completed in phase six. It was during this testing that a discharge at Stanton Ave. was discovered. Much of the sewer lines were originally installed in the 1930s and 1940s; thus, the discharge had been flowing for decades.
There were no resulting health hazards as the drinking water intake for the area was upstream, and there was not another intake until Maysville, Ky., 55 miles downstream. The sewage would have been diluted enough not to present a concern.
The temporary fix cost $30,000 that was provided for through funding from the Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA). The permanent fix will come with the already scheduled phase six of the sewer project, which already aimed at replacing lines in that area.
As soon as the Village was made aware of the problem, they made every effort to alert the public and all entities of interest quickly and clearly, making public/residential health a top priority.
“When we get problems here in the Village, we are always upfront, especially when it comes to health. And, we want to fix it as soon as possible,” Hamilton stated.
Phase six will be bid out in July. By June or July of next year, the permanent fix will be completed.
Any questions or concerns are to be directed to Hamilton at (740) 456-4106.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.