MOUNT GILEAD — Over the past two weeks Morrow County Commissioners approved agreements with Tetra Tech and Poggemeyer Design Group regarding the upgrade and improvement of SoMoCo (Southern Morrow County) Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Both projects will use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan funds, totaling $274,160.

Tetra Tech will provide a 9-Element plan and present a technical plan for the county and local stakeholders for the Headwaters Alum Creek Watershed. The 9-Element Plan provides voluntary incentives for landowners and farmers.

The plan will identify the best projects to improve local and downstream water quality. The agreement with Tetra Tech states,” We will also ensure these projects are feasible to implement, cost effective and will reduce non-point source phosphorus and nutrient loading in Alum Creek.”

Commissioners approved $19,000 for the project with Tetra Tech, using Rescue funding.

On Sept. 13 Commissioners approved an agreement with Poggemeyer Design Group Inc. for SoMoCo water treatment plant upgrades and outfall sewer improvements.

Poggemeyer is tasked with design of the project, which has a budget of $2,538,855. They will also be in charge of the construction administration.

The proposed project consists of design/construction of approximately 6,000 lineal feet of 12” outfall sewer to Alum Creek and improvements to the SoMoCo Wastewater Treatment Facility. Improvements include a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) filter building with tertiary filter and ultraviolet disinfection equipment all rated for an average daily flow of 175,000 gallons per day.

Morrow Soil and Water Conservation District (MSWCD) Administrator Matt Stooksbury said Commissioners have kept him and the MSWCD board involved in the SoMoCo project for the past several months.

Stooksbury said Commissioners have attended meetings of the MSWCD board for several months and informed them of progress as well as getting the board’s input.

Research for the projects began in the summer of 2018 when the Dollar Tree Distribution Center required a public sewer system for their facility. At that time the commissioners hired Poggemeyer to do an assessment of SoMoCo. Poggemeyer recommended that SoMoCo discharge into Alum Creek with the expanding development in southern Morrow County.

A baseline study of Alum Creek was completed by Geosyntec in 2019-2020. In January 2021 the Ohio EPA informed the commissioners that a 9-Element plan would be required for a permit to discharge into Alum Creek.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For The Sentinel