Brilliant advancing water plant plans

STEUBENVILLE — The Brilliant Water and Sewer District informed the Jefferson County commissioners by letter of its intent to move forward with a new $3 million water treatment plant even if the county doesn’t help in applying for CDBG funding.

Commissioners have tabled any action on applying for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help Brilliant with the construction of the plant. Commissioners have instructed Michael Eroshevich, county water and sewer department director, to prepare an analysis on whether the new plant is warranted. Brilliant currently only uses a chlorinator to treat the water coming out of wells.

The county buys water from Brilliant to service customers in the south end of the county.

The district raised water rates to residential customers in Brilliant by about 60 percent last spring, said Mike Nichols, Brilliant water and sewer district president. He said Brilliant has not raised rates for the county and has no plans to do so.

Commissioners said they are concerned the county may face a rate increase in the future.

“We have always had a good working relationship with Jefferson County, and have been willing to help with their water needs,” said Nichols in a letter to the commissioners this week. “To clarify the rumors, we do not plan to increase the bulk water rates for Jefferson County water.”

Nichols said the water district already has received a $250,000 Appalachian Regional Planning Commission grant for the water plant.

Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham said he believes Brilliant should wait for Eroshevich’s analysis to be completed before going forward with the the project. Part of Eroshevich’s analysis will include the county possibly buying water from Mingo Junction. A water line would have to be installed between Mingo Junction and the county’s south end feeder line.

“There is no guarantee we will continue to buy Brilliant water,” Graham said.

The county has five years left on a contract to buy water from Brilliant. Graham said there is nothing in the contract forcing the county to buy the water from Brilliant, only the rate charged by Brilliant.

“It is a little ahead of the game. It is their decision, but not one I would recommend at this time,” Graham said of Brilliant’s decision to move forward with or without the county’s help on the CDBG grant.

Brilliant is not permitted to submit the CDBG grant on its own.

Nichols said he doesn’t see a reason why the county wouldn’t sign the CDBG grant application on behalf of Brilliant.

Nichols said plans for the new water plant include going to bid around June and construction starting in the fall.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)

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