Herrington to help on pressure needs

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday agreed to accept the assistance of a local fire chief in setting a countywide standard for water pressure and flow needed in fighting fires.

Robert Herrington, Wintersville Fire and Rescue chief, sent a letter to the commissioners about the issue after water pressure in the Sunshine Park area had been discussed at recent meetings.

The area had about 80 psi water pressure in the area when the county was buying water from Steubenville. The county switched to Mingo Junction water and built a pumping station, which reduced pressure to about 40 psi to 50 psi. Residents are complaining to the county water and sewer department about the decrease in water pressure.

Michael Eroshevich, county water and sewer director, said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requires 25 psi.

“As I am sure you realize, county fire departments are concerned about water pressure readings in all areas of the county since that pressure is directly related to the fire flow available through the hydrants,” Herrington said. “While there is not necessarily a standard pressure that is acceptable to the fire service, there are flow requirements that should be present to assure adequate water for firefighting operations. Fire flows are determined by using pressure tests so that low pressure will result in low fire flows.”

Herrington said the Insurance Services Office sets these requirements to provide the basis for how fire insurance rates are set by all fire insurance companies in the state. He said he is willing to work with Eroshevich to develop guidelines for what pressure levels would be considered acceptable based on the size of the water mains, the number of connecting lines in an area and what structures exist that might require significant fire flows above the norm.

“I think we can work together to assure that the water system pressures are adequate and that we meet the ISO standards and this keep fire insurance premiums as low as possible,” Herrington said.

Commissioners are considering installing an in-line booster pump in Sunshine Park to increase pressure. Commissioner Thomas Graham said the Sunshine Park residents shouldn’t be experiencing a drop in water pressure because of something the county did.

“When we do an improvement, there shouldn’t be less water pressure, because that wouldn’t be an improvement,” said Commissioner David Maple. He said the county has to work on a standard for water pressure.

Commissioners were informed the water and sewer department will be offering an on-line bill paying option for customers. There will be a $2.50 surcharge for using a credit card and $1 fee for a check. Customers can still go through their bank’s on-line bill payment system to take care of their water and sewer bill, according to the water and sewer department.

Commissioners were presented with plans to repair the rear facade of the courthouse. There are sections of stone that need to be replaced as a result of the demolition of the courthouse annex building to make room for a parking lot.

McKinley & Associates of Wheeling, the county’s architect for the project, estimated it would cost about $80,000 for the repairs. The county received a $50,000 grant from the Rover pipeline project for historical building repairs.

Commissioners endorsed the Indian Creek Local School District bond issue on the Nov. 7 ballot. T.C. Chappelear, Indian Creek superintendent, made a presentation about the district’s 6.49-mill levy to construct a new high school and elementary school and make improvements to Hills Elementary School.

Chappelear said the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $227 a year and less for senior citizens with the Homestead Exemption.

Construction of the new schools will start in about a year if the issue is approved.

Commissioners agreed to the appointment of Graham as the county representative to the Ohio Public Works Commission for 2018.

Commissioners signed an agreement between the county and Island Creek, Springfield and Wayne townships for an OPWC grant application for road repairs and resurfacing.

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