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ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Project Identification

Name: Highland Ridge Water Association – Water Tank Addition

Applicant: Judy Mercer, General Manager


Highland Ridge Water Association
P.O. Box 35
Lower Salem, OH 45745

WSRLA Loan #: FS391176-0006

Project Summary

Highland Ridge Water Association (Highland Ridge) in Washington County has requested $1,410,000
from the Ohio Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) to construct a new water tank for
additional storage within the water system.

As Highland Ridge has less than one day of water storage currently within its water system, this project
will involve the installation of a new elevated 150,000-gallon water tank in order to provide increased
water storage capacity for Highland Ridge. The water tank will be constructed in between the property
of Highland Ridge’s existing water tank and a cell phone tower on Highland Ridge Road. This will also
involve the construction of a 20-foot waterline trench connecting the water tank to the existing
waterline already in place. An access drive will be added parallel to the existing waterline along
Highland Ridge Road where land disturbance has previously occurred.

The area of potential effect from construction pertains directly to the excavation areas for implementing
the water tank foundation, waterline trench, and access drive. No stream crossings or in-wetland work
will occur. Viewshed is taken into consideration but will not be an effect as it is located next to the
existing Highland Ridge Road elevated water tank.

History and Existing Conditions

Highland Ridge purchases its water supply from Warren Water Authority. Water is pumped via five
booster stations and stored in two elevated 150,000-gallon water storage tanks. Despite this, Highland
Ridge currently has only 0.7 days of water storage capability, which is below the level recommended by
the EPA. This lack of storage would be solved by the proposed addition of an elevated storage tank.

Population and Flow Projections

Highland Ridge serves a population of approximately 3,300 in Washington County. The number of water
customers has increased over the past decade and usage is anticipated to increase by 20% in the future.
Highland Ridge purchases approximately 12.4 million gallons per month year from Warren Water
Authority. Currently an emphasis is placed on the replacement of the original system, but over the next
twenty years, Highland Ridge will look to expand water service to areas of need.

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Alternatives

• No Action: The “no-action” alternative would continue to allow insufficient water storage
capacity in Highland Ridge’s water system. This is not an option if Highland Ridge is to meet the
EPA’s recommended storage capacity.
• Construction of elevated storage tank: A 150,000-gallon, composite style elevated storage tank
will be constructed on existing property owned by Highland Ridge to increase water storage
capacity. Alternative tank sizes, styles, and locations were evaluated but this design required no
property acquisition and created the smallest construction footprint. This design also proved to
be the most cost-effective in terms of long-term maintenance.

Selected Alternative

The project involves the addition of a 150,000-gallon, composite style elevated tank on existing property
owned by Highland Ridge. This is near the site of the existing elevated water tank and the location of
Highland Ridge’s offices at 1330 Highland Ridge Road in Lowell. This location is shown in Figures 1-3.

A composite elevated tank is a single concrete pedestal supporting a bolted glass-fused-to-steel


container. Composite tanks offer benefits like a smaller construction footprint, interior ladder systems,
more pleasing aesthetic appearance, lower long-term maintenance costs, and storage areas available in
the base of the tank pedestal. The glass-fused-to-steel technology offers the lowest ownership cost
because the tank does not need sand blasting or painting.

This water tank is to be placed on a 32-foot circular concrete foundation with a surrounding chain link
fence and a gravel access drive. This area of installation consists of mostly shrubs and little to no habitat
of value. A new waterline will be constructed that will connect the tank to the existing waterline that
runs parallel in a previously disturbed location.

Implementation

Project Costs
Highland Ridge plans to borrow $1,410,000 from the WSRLA. During a 30-year loan period Highland
Ridge will save approximately $482,878 by using WSRLA dollars at the small system rate of 1.70%,
compared to the market rate of 3.50%.

Project Schedule
The anticipated loan award will occur in May 2019. Construction is expected to begin immediately and
the elevated storage tank is expected to be completed by December 2020.

Public Participation

The project has been discussed at public board meetings where the public may participate and
comment. Ohio EPA is unaware of any public opposition to the project.

Reviews of the respective environmental resources were completed by Ohio EPA, Division of
Environmental and Financial Assistance. The State Historic Preservation Office was consulted for
technical input and for conformance with legislation under their jurisdiction. No review agency opposes

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the project.

Ohio EPA will make a copy of this document available to the public on its web page:
http://epa.ohio.gov/defa/ofa.aspx (Under the “What’s New” tab, scroll to “Documents Available for
Review and Comment – WSRLA Documents for Review and Comment”) and will provide it upon request
to interested parties. Information supporting this Environmental Assessment (EA) is available from the
project contact named below.

Environmental Impacts

Construction of this project could affect environmental features. Because the project is designed to
provide additional storage for the existing water system, the project is not expected to lead to new
development or associated indirect or cumulative environmental impacts.

Construction will occur on property owned by Highland Ridge in a previously disturbed area near an
existing waterline. No change to land use or topography will occur.

Air Quality
Washington County is in attainment for all affected criteria pollutants (particulate matter). The
contractor will prevent unnecessary creation of dust from construction activities and shall prevent dust
attributable to the operations from entering the atmosphere. Dust on unsurfaced streets or parking
areas and any remaining dust on surfaced streets shall be controlled with water as needed. Because of
this approach, there will be no significant adverse short-term or long-term impacts on local air quality.

Archaeological and Historical Resources


The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) concurred with Ohio EPA’s conclusion that this project
would not adversely affect important archaeological or historical features (cultural resources).
Documentation submitted for review included a Phase I Survey from September 1994 conducted for the
proposed construction of 36 miles of waterline in the greater project area. This study concluded that
most of the area did not need to be surveyed for archaeological resources due to the steep terrain and
placement along existing rights-of-way.

In the event of archaeological finds during construction, Ohio Revised Code Section 149.53 requires
contractors and subcontractors to notify SHPO of any archaeological discoveries in the project area, and
to cooperate with the Office in archaeological and historic surveys and salvage efforts when appropriate.
Work will not resume until a survey of the find and a determination of its value and effect has been
made, and Ohio EPA authorizes work to continue.

According to the SHPO database, located within the viewshed of the planned water tank is the
Vaughn/Stacy/Evans Farm Historic District. Due to the presence of a pre-existing cell phone tower and
water tower on either side of the planned new water tank construction, the viewshed has been
previously impacted and will not be further impacted by this installation.

The area of disturbance for this project has been previously disturbed by the existing waterline
installation where a Phase I survey has already taken place, therefore creating no new significant
impacts on archaeological and historical resources.

Terrestrial Habitat and Endangered Species


Nine federally listed species occur in Washington County: the endangered Indiana bat, the endangered
fanshell, the endangered pink mucket pearly mussel, the endangered sheepnose mussel, the endangered

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snuffbox mussel, the threatened northern long-eared bat, the species of concern eastern hellbender, the
species of concern timber rattlesnake, and the species of concern bald eagle. No habitat suited to the
fanshell, pink mucket, sheepnose, snuffbox mussels, eastern hellbender, timber rattlesnake, or bald
eagle is in the project area. The Indiana and northern long-eared bats have similar summer maternity
and roosting habitat preferences (trees with large crevices or loose, sloughing bark higher than ten feet
above the ground). No further tree and vegetation removal will occur in the project area. Based on this
information, the project will have no significant adverse short-term or long-term effect on terrestrial
habitat or endangered species.

Farmland Protection
Based on the review of the project planning and design, the project will not remove or change the use of
prime farmland, so no farmland losses are expected as a result of this project.

Floodplains
According to project planning and design, no construction is scheduled to occur within designated flood
hazard zones. Therefore, compliance with local floodplain development regulations has been met.

Ground Water Resources


To avoid adverse impacts to ground water resources, the construction contract includes specifications
for appropriate and safe dewatering of deep excavations and management of ground water.

Safety, Noise, Traffic, and Aesthetics


The contractor shall develop a traffic plan prior to commencing construction which shall include all
proper traffic control devices and adequate lights, signs, and barriers to minimize the extent of
disruption of traffic and disturbance to the neighborhood during construction. Due to the presence of
another elevated water tank and cell phone tower directly adjacent to the planned construction area,
local aesthetics will be unchanged after construction is complete. For these reasons, the project will not
adversely affect noise, traffic, public safety, or aesthetics.

Surface Water Resources


The contractor will minimize soil from eroding or otherwise entering onto all paved areas and into
natural watercourses, ditches, and public sewer systems with the use of storm water pollution
prevention tools such as buffer zones, silt fencing, inlet protection, and seeding. Therefore, surface water
resources will remain unaltered. Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers will be unaffected by this project as
there are none located within the project’s vicinity.

Wetlands and Aquatic Habitat


According to a review of project planning and design and the Ohio Wetlands Inventory, this project will
contain no in-wetland work and therefore will have no impacts to wetland areas. No stream crossings
are proposed as part of construction, so no impacts to aquatic habitat will occur.

Major Landforms
Major landforms will not be affected by this project as no change to topography will occur aside from
temporary excavations.

Energy Use
This project will have little to no effect on local or regional energy supplies as elevated water tank design
promotes energy efficiency.

Local Economy

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The current Highland Ridge residential water bill is approximately $372/year, which is approximately
0.9% of median household income (MHI) of Washington County, which is $43,509. Projected residential
water bills with the implementation of this project are not expected to increase. The Ohio average
residential water bill of $628 is 1.2% of state MHI ($53,301).

By using WSRLA financing for this project, Highland Ridge has minimized the economic impact on
customers.

Conclusion

Based upon the available facilities plans, detail plans, and other information for this project, Ohio EPA
concludes that no significant short-term or long-term adverse direct environmental impacts will result
from the project as related to the environmental features discussed in this Environmental Assessment.
This is because these features do not exist in the project area, the features exist but will not be adversely
affected, or the impacts of construction will be temporary and mitigated.

This project equally serves the entire affected community and no particular segment of the community
will be faced with additional adverse impacts or be deprived of environmental benefits, compared to any
other segment.

For these reasons, this project, alone or in combination with other projects, is not expected to result in
any significant indirect or cumulative short-term or long-term adverse environmental impacts on the
quality of the human environment or on sensitive resources.

Contact

Kristin Parrish
Ohio EPA-DEFA
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
(614) 644-3662
kristin.parrish@epa.ohio.gov

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Figure 1: Project Location Map

Figure 2: Project Location Map

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Figure 3: Project Location Map

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