Bay Village looks to tackle infrastructure issues
Bay Village residents are well aware of the infrastructure improvements made last year when the two main thoroughfares, Lake and Wolf roads, each received a makeover. In 2023, Mayor Paul Koomar aims to go deeper – as in underground.
The city is dealing with mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency – at both the state and federal levels – to reduce sanitary sewer runoff into Lake Erie during periods of heavy rain.
Mayor Koomar discussed his administration’s plans during the annual State of the City address on March 3.
As a member of the Rocky River Waste Water Treatment Plant – along with Rocky River, Westlake and Fairview Park – Bay Village is responsible for the implementation of Ohio EPA’s No Feasible Alternatives Plan to reduce the amount of stormwater flowing into the sanitary sewer system. There are several projects planned over the next 15 years to execute that plan.
To comply with a U.S. EPA mandate concerning federal Clean Water Act standards, the city plans to install an equalization tank that will allow for the closure of the final sanitary sewer overflow on Lake Road that empties into the lake. With expected financing from a low-interest Ohio EPA loan, the $14 million tank will be installed mostly underground in the field across from the middle school. It will have a capacity of 1.5 million gallons to handle sewer overflow during heavy rain events.
“It’s expensive but we think it’s the least expensive way to get this accomplished,” Koomar said, adding that other cities facing similar mandates that have neglected to comply with the EPA have been issued large fines in addition to the cost of the required corrections. “Clean water for Lake Erie is hugely important; when you layer on the fact that Huntington Beach is so close by, it makes it even more important.”
An ordinance to raise sewer rates and add a stormwater fee to address these costs is pending before City Council.
Mayor Koomar is also looking to assemble a long-term plan to handle the city’s aging infrastructure needs. With 70 miles of sanitary sewer lines, 5 pump stations, 68 miles of storm sewers and 2,400 catch basins, not to mention 71 miles of water lines, his goal is to have a strategy in place to address future repairs.
“We really have to look out and make sure that we can understand what needs to be fixed in what order and maintained so we can keep the system functioning,” he said.
Aside from infrastructure needs, Koomar also shared updates on other 2023 initiatives which include completing the Village Green project between city hall and the new library, installing a pedestrian bridge to connect the east and west sides of Cahoon Park, and wrapping up a fire station feasibility study to determine the best way of improving the 52-year-old building.
To view slides from Mayor Koomar’s presentation with updates on every city department, visit cityofbayvillage.com