Contract comes under scrutiny

WELLSVILLE – As part of an effort to combat bypass problems at the village’s sewage treatment plant, Wellsville officials discussed options to calculate how much of what the plant receives come from outside the village, in particular, from Russell Heights.

As part of a contract negotiated between Wellsville and the Columbiana County Water and Sewer District, sewage from the Russell Heights area of Yellow Creek Township, just north of Hammond Park and Springhill Cemetery, is handled by the village sewage treatment plant.

Since the contract with the county calls for consultation between the village and the county on meeting state standards for bringing the problem under control, committee chairwoman Diane Dinch says Russell Heights needs to be considered since the village receives so much stormwater flow from uphill. “I think these are areas we need to be looking at within this contract,” she said.

Several committee members advocated for metering the flow from Russell Heights, which travels down a sewage line to where it hooks into the village line at 15th Street. According to Greg Stewart from United Water, which runs the treatment plant, it travels down to the pump station at Independence Square, from which it is sent to the plant.

Also up for debate were the monthly sewage fees paid by Russell Heights homeowners, which stands at the same $4.55 per thousand gallons used as when the contract was adopted in 2004. By contrast, Wellsville residents pay $20.07 for the first 2,000 gallons used and $7.50 for each additional thousand gallons, plus a $4 surcharge.

Dinch argued that the disparity is especially glaring since the 90 sewage customers in Russell Heights statistically use more water on average than most of the village’s 1,500 customers. Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh agreed, saying, “I do believe that everyone should be paying the same.”