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Money will help with sewer work

Steubenville officials got some good news Monday when they learned the city had received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission that will go toward sewer improvements on University Boulevard.

The $250,000 will be put toward the second phase of the city’s combined sewer overflow project. Estimated to cost around $2.2 million, the work will involve the replacement of a 320-foot section of 15-inch clay sewer pipes with 24-inch steel-cased pipes located near the intersection of University and Dean Martin boulevards.

It’s important work — when completed, the new infrastructure will significantly reduce, if not eliminate, overflows in that area. That overflow, a mixture of rainwater and sewage, goes directly into the Ohio River untreated, and that’s something the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is looking to stop. The new pipes will allow more of that flow to go to the city’s water treatment plant.

Overflow issues in that area are something the city has been dealing with for a long time, according to Utility Director Chuck Murphy.

The current lines have been serving that part of the city’s North End since 1956, when they were placed to direct that flow to Steubenville’s then-new wastewater treatment plant.

Currently, the issues in the area are allowing 23.7 million gallons of untreated water to go into the river each year. That, Murphy said, is about one-third of the city’s yearly combined overflow volume.

There’s a lot of work ahead. The pipes are buried under 25 to 35 feet of dirt, which means a great deal of excavation will be needed before work on the pipes can even begin.

When the project is finished, though, the 1,000 households and 12 businesses in that area will see improved service, and an important natural resource, the Ohio River, will be become a little cleaner.

Those factors make it a good investment by the ARC.

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