Board re­leases draft of strate­gic plan

Build­ing upon the suc­cess of the last strate­gic plan, the Board iden­ti­fied five key ini­tia­tives.

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­ingjour­nal.com @MJKev­inMartin1 on Twit­ter By Kevin Martin

The Avon Lake Board of Mu­nic­i­pal Util­i­ties re­leased a draft of its strate­gic plan Feb. 5 out­lin­ing pri­or­i­ties over the next four years. Build­ing upon the suc­cess of the last strate­gic plan, the Board iden­ti­fied five key ini­tia­tives: wa­ter sup­ply re­siliency and re­li­a­bil­ity; wa­ter qual­ity en­hance­ment; rev­enue diver­si­fi­ca­tion; con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment; and out­reach and cus­tomer en­hance­ment. The Board plans to pri­or­i­tize proac­tive man­age­ment of its wa­ter util­ity and will aim to com­plete the launch of their GIS for un­der­ground as­set lo­ca­tion, con­duct an as­set in­ven­tory and ini­ti­ate a pre­dic­tive main­te­nance pro­gram. Ad­di­tion­ally, Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter will fin­ish con­struc­tion of an in­ter­con­nec­tion with the city of Elyria to pro­vide wa­ter dur­ing emer­gen­cies. The Board will ex­am­ine ad­di­tional in­ter­con­nec­tions where ap­pro­pri­ate, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments. In 2019, Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter is ex­pected to com­plete the com­bined sewer sep­a­ra­tion project in line with the 2020 dead­line set by the Ohio En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. The Board will con­tinue to work to­ward ways to re­duce sewer over­flows.

“Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter needed to rad­i­cally re­think the idea to help pre­vent base­ment back­ups in a way that was most af­ford­able to cus­tomers,” ac­cord­ing to the plan. “This led to the cur­rent ap­proach where cus­tomers are sep­a­rat­ing waste­water from clean wa­ter sources on their prop­er­ties and Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter is sep­a­rat­ing sew­ers within right-of-ways.” The Board also is work­ing on ways to im­prove the storm wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tem and will ex­pand the ag­gres­sive in­fil­tra­tion and in­flow re­moval pro­gram to help re­duce clean wa­ter from en­ter­ing san­i­tary sew­ers. Since 2013, Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter has bor­rowed $120 mil­lion, which has tripled debt ser­vice re­quire­ments and led to rate in­creases, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments. The in­creases have been mit­i­gated through $75 mil­lion in zero-per­cent in­ter­est loan fund­ing, and hun­dreds of thou­sands in sav­ings through en­ergy pro­grams. In 2018, Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter en­tered into a part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of En­ergy to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion by 20 per­cent. Fur­ther, Avon Lake Re­gional Wa­ter will con­tinue look­ing at grow­ing its sys­tem in iden­ti­fy­ing ad­di­tional ser­vices it can pro­vide to bulk cus­tomers, ac­cord­ing to plans.

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