Village acts to remove water contaminants


PHILLIPSBURG — After meeting with Ryan Brauen, vice president of Wessler Engineering, during the Nov. 9 meeting, members of Phillipsburg’s board of public affairs conditionally approved a contract with Wessler Engineering to remove the PFAs and PFOs contaminating the village water supply.

They had to act conditionally because members had not gotten a clear ruling from the village solicitor about whether board members could sign the contract or whether the board has to present it to council for acceptance.

Brauen warned that a delay until the council meeting on Nov. 21 could put the village in danger of missing deadlines for steps in the project. Members decided if council action was needed, the council could call a special meeting, and if they were to sign, they would call a special BPA meeting to do so.

The engineering firm, based in Bluffton, will sample the water from the four wells, consult with the Ohio Environmental Agency and prepare the most advantageous remedy, as well as identify agencies that may be able to help the village with funding.

Possible solutions include charcoal filters for the wells, a reverse osmosis system, ionization, or obtaining the village’s water from surrounding communities that either lack the contaminants or have dealt with them, such as the City of Union.

The initial cost of the contract with Wessler is $49,500. If needed additional costs will be subject to agreement between the village and Wessler.

Brauen assured the board members that the firm’s recommendations would take into consideration not only installation but also operational costs. For example, charcoal filters for the village system would need to be replaced periodically.

He also said that he would be amenable to calling a public meeting at some point to discuss the options with the residents.

Sampling of the four wells should begin within a week.

The board agreed that it would re-evaluate water rates at the January meeting.

With Sheryl Riffle leaving the board at the end of the year, members were concerned that no applicants have yet applied to fill the vacancy.

Unless the board needs a special meeting to deal with the Wessler contract, there will be no December meeting. The next regular meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the municipal building, 10868 Brookville Phillipsburg Rd.

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