The study of a proposal to tie the Archbold and Wauseon water treatment plants together to serve North Star Steel and northeastern Fulton County is moving forward.
Speaking to Archbold Village Council at its Monday, April 1 meeting, Perry Rupp, Fulton County commissioner, said the group will probably pick a consulting firm to study the feasibility of a countywide water system this week.
There are proposals on the table from three firms from Indianapolis, Toledo, and Columbus.
Rupp said a Maumee firm was selected to estimate the cost of the underground pipeline necessary to connect the two water treatment plants with a trunk line from the City of Toledo.
That trunk line supplies the steel plant, the northeast county distribution system, and the Swan Creek water district.
Rough estimates for the cost of the pipeline are as much as $15 million.
Rupp said the proposed system must make sense fi- nancially for the project to move forward.
The main factor driving the county water system is the cost of water from Toledo.
Rupp said Toledo held the cost of water artificially low for 25 to 30 years. Now, the city treatment and distribution systems are in need of repair, which could push up the price of water.
The Fulton County contract with Toledo will be up for renegotiation in 2015.
If a countywide water system is economically feasible, even if it were not constructed, Rupp said it could be used as leverage in negotiations with Toledo.
“We would have another set of cards to play,” Rupp said.
Currently, customers in Metamora and Assumption, which are connected to the northeast water system, are paying $9.07 per 1,000 gallons for water.
Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, said an Archbold residential water customer is paying about $2.56 per 1,000 gallons.
When sewage charges are added, the bill comes to about $5 per 1,000 gallons, Howell said.
Rupp said the City of Napoleon, which considered, but decided against, joining a Fulton County Regional Water District, has the highest rates in the area.
And that, he said, is before Napoleon spends $18 to $25 million to replace its aging water treatment plant.
Those at the meeting said an Archbold-to-Wauseon water pipeline could solve problems with water distribution in Pettisville.
The unincorporated community gets municipal water from Archbold via a pipeline that runs north along North Defiance Street and St. Rt. 66 to St. Rt. 2, then turns east and goes to Co. Rd. 19, where it connects into waterlines serving Pettisville.
It was said there are water pressure problems in Pettisville.
By tapping into a pipeline running along Co. Rd. C, a loop could be created.
Howell said a pump station could be installed to help move water to Wauseon and beyond, while helping with Pettisville pressure issues.