Land for buffer zone: City to purchase property to protect wells, expand plant

Knowing a state Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement is imminent, Wapakoneta city administrators have negotiated a land deal to increase its holdings to protect the city’s water supply.

Wapakoneta City Council members are to hear the first reading of an ordinance granting authority to Mayor Rodney Metz to consummate a deal for 17.72 acres for $225,000 from Vernita Mould.

“This acreage will provide us with the necessary land to comply with the EPA’s well-head protection plan for the Wapakoneta Water Treatment Plant and for future expansion of the Wapak-oneta Wastewater Treatment Plant,” Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “There are no expansion plans for that ground at this time and we have managed to layout the next expansion at the wastewater plant in regard to the south interceptor sewer replacement project within the footprint of land we own currently.

“We all now EPA plans change so we wanted to plan for the future,” the mayor said.

The EPA requires a 500-foot radius around each well-head which the land purchase provides. Metz said he also knows the EPA may require the city to treat more stormwater so the extra ground is needed if the EPA requires more holding ponds before treatment in the future.

The city is paying $12,697 per acre for the land and structures on the land — a cost the mayor defended.

“I think it is a very fair price and the property exists where we need it and we already have an investment in the property because of the well-heads and the raw water lines,” Metz said. “This will also give us  adjacent property to the wastewater plant so I think it is a very fair price.”

He compared the price to farm ground being sold in the industrial park and this purchase is less than the asking price for that property.

He said he realizes this is the optimal time to purchase the land since EPA officials will likely require the buffer zone and other changes during their next cycle of permit issuance.

Metz said the land will be purchased with money from the water, wastewater stormwater sewer and electric funds.

Another ordinance being read for the first time establishes the zoning classification for 6.954 acres adjacent to the Wapakoneta Water Treatment Plant and well field, which is owned by the city and recently annexed to the city. The land is to be zoned agriculture.

They also will hear an ordinance authorizing Safety-Service Director Bill Rains to execute an agreement with the Auglaize County Solid Waste Management Board for operation and management of “yard waste” disposal facility. The facility, the former Zink farm, is on Wapak-Cridersville Road.

The Wapakoneta City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers at the Wapakoneta City Administration Building.