Toledo water

Toledo deal likely dead in the water, but search for options continues

By JERRY GREINER President, Northwestern Water & Sewer District At The District, we continue to explore options for water for our 6,500 customers in Northern Wood County who are currently served with water provided by The City of Toledo. The District owns and operates the water and sewer systems within the political subdivisions of Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Lake Township, Perrysburg Township, and Troy Township.  We have provided quality water services to these communities for years and will continue to focus on quality water and fair rates during these talks. If you are confused by media reports or are wondering where The District stands, hopefully, this summary can clear things up.  Keep in mind that talks continue and there are new developments daily, so the opinion in this entry is subject to change. The Toledo Area Water Authority (TAWA) The Toledo Chamber of Commerce-led proposal for Toledo to share ownership of their plant etc. has stalled most likely ended.  The current mayor of Toledo’s representative said they had no support from Toledo City Council to proceed with it.  The Toledo Chamber has done a remarkable job with the effort and expense and continues to have hope in some form of regional cooperation.  The District continues to participate in TAWA discussions, but at this point does not see it moving forward. TOLEDO WATER COMMISSION IDEA In late May, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz proposed a regional water commission.  In this plan, water purchasers (like The District) could buy water at a wholesale rate and have a “commission-like” board seat that would oversee rates.  However, Toledo would withhold the right to set final rates and retain ownership.  A technical committee has been meeting to review details of this plan. I think our Board of Trustees may support this idea for this concept as it meets our long-term goal; reasonable, uniform fair water rates.  While it keeps all suburban parties at the table, until Toledo’s council “weighs-in” on this idea, it’s just more talk.   PERRYSBURG-MAUMEE-THE NORTHWESTERN WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT AND THE CITY OF BOWLING GREEN Last Thursday, The District’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to partner with the Cities of Perrysburg and Maumee to fund exploring alternative water options, of which there are several under consideration.  For example: Continued talks with the city of Bowling Green Discussions with Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) on a groundwater source Review of using Ottawa County as a water source A request for detailed specifics on what all parties require (RFQ) will soon be issued. SUMMARY The devil is in the details, which will hopefully be outlined by the end of this year.  Once we have them, we plan on hosting a public meeting and sharing our preferred alternative.   There are many options to consider, some reasonable, some not based on distance, water capacity or water quality concerns.  The District team is focused on fair rates and delivering quality water.  We encourage our members and our customers reach out to us with questions.  More to come…


NW district weighs water options from Toledo, BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Concerns about water quality, quantity and costs have resulted in a possible regional water system with Toledo in the center. But if that Plan A falls apart, then the northern Wood County area is eyeing a possible Plan B involving Bowling Green water. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District held a public meeting in Perrysburg Thursday evening to talk about possible options for approximately 6,500 of its water customers in northern Wood County. To serve its northern customers, the district currently purchases water from Toledo, then distributes it to Rossford, Northwood, Walbridge, Perrysburg Township, Troy Township and Lake Township. The status quo has been disrupted in the past few years by several concerns about Toledo water quality and cost. Toledo has been ordered to make many water system improvements, with the costs being passed on to customers who already pay large surcharges. Complaints from communities served by the district have shown growing dissatisfaction over the rates and the water quality since the Toledo system went through the algal bloom crisis of 2014. The district’s contract with Toledo water expires in 2024 – which in water agreement years is not much time. Meanwhile, talks with Toledo are still not quite complete, and negotiations with Bowling Green haven’t even begun. Rex Huffman, attorney with the district, explained at Thursday’s meeting that several political entities served by Toledo water share the same concerns. So after months of negotiations, the Toledo Area Water Authority was created. Signing a memorandum of understanding for TAWA were officials from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, Toledo, Lucas County, Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Whitehouse, Fulton County and Monroe County. “We have a chance to really look at regional water,” Huffman said. “We want to link arms, work together, solve these problems regionally,” he said. The TAWA agreement focuses on providing economical savings and environmentally safe water for all parties, according to Eric Rothstein, an attorney who is helping to form the water authority. “This is an approach to a regional water system that benefits all parties,” Rothstein said. The proposal calls for a redundant water supply source, so the 2014 water crisis is not repeated. And it calls for transparency in the pricing structure – which does not exist now with the Toledo charges, Rothstein said. “There’s a commitment to financial transparency,” he said. “Rates will be based on the cost of doing services,” not on arbitrary surcharges like now. In the last decade, water rates from Toledo doubled the rate of inflation. Rothstein predicted the same for the next decade. He also noted that TAWA may be the best way for the region to address replacement of lead surface lines, and provide bill assistance for those in need. Then came the discussion of Plan B by Jack Jones of Poggemeyer Design Group, which studied water options at the request of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. The commission asked for the study of other options a couple years back when Toledo was a less than willing partner in the regional negotiations. “They thought it prudent to look at options for northern Wood County,” Jones said. Though the Toledo water talks have turned productive, there is still concern that the regional effort may be tenuous. “We need to protect our customers and give our customers options,” Jones said. So Poggemeyer Design Group identified three options including Bowling Green water, a water intake at the Bayshore power plant, and a Maumee River intake. During the collection of data on the options, Bowling Green rose as the top choice of the alternatives, Jones…