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…

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