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Grants to pay for overhaul on Coal Grove’s water system

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 11:53 PM EDT
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COAL GROVE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Deteriorating, aging infrastructure has led to recurring problems with water service in many communities in our area.

Customers in Coal Grove are hoping an upcoming project will mean their ongoing problems will finally be fixed.

Coal Grove resident Nancy Bishop says too often, turning on her faucets is the equivalent of turning on a headache.

“You can’t let your kids bathe in this,” she said. “You can’t drink it. There’s discoloration, it’s brown. It has a bad odor to it at times.”

"A lot of times it's rusty looking," Coal Grove resident Dale Morris said.

Mayor Gary Sherman says water lines installed in the 1920s, 30s and 40s have run their course, and doing nothing would mean it would just be a matter of time until the whole system failed, and the village would be without water.

Thanks to two grants secured last week from the ARC and CDBG worth $1 million, in addition to a 50/50 FEMA grant secured by the previous administration, work on a massive project of replacing lines, hydrants and water meters in the village could begin late this summer or in the fall.

FEMA is giving $2 million to the village, with Coal Grove taxpayers matching that with another $2 million over 30 years, paying with a 12 percent increase in their water fee.

Neighbors can hardly imagine the relief of not having to worry about their water any more.

"I'm feeling optimistic it'll help," Bishop said. "We'll see how long it takes to get it done. Hopefully it'll all work."

The mayor says the project is expected to take between a year and a year and a half. He says during that time, just about every street in Coal Gove will be dug up, making an absolute mess, but he says it'll be well worth it in the end when the water issues are behind them.

He says the next step will be hiring a contractor.

Sherman says they’ve also received a $5 million grant to rebuild their 75-year-old water plant.

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