GIRARD — The Crawford County Commission, City of Girard and Crawford County Jail are working toward a solution for problems with the sewer system at the Girard Industrial Park.
The commissioners held a work session before their regular meeting Friday with Girard City Administrator Chris Weiner and Sheriff Dan Peak to discuss how they can work together.
The jail is connected to Girard’s city sewer system, and the lift station at the industrial park is on its last legs, according to Weiner. The lift station has received an excess amount of wear and tear caused by clothing, trash and other items flushed down toilets at the jail.
Weiner said the city is going to replace the lift station before it fails, and sewage backs up to all buildings connected. The lift station is going to cost the city approximately $80,000.
“This is something we had not budgeted for,” Weiner said. “We should have gotten four more years out of the lift station, but it is something we have to replace.”
According to Weiner, replacing the lift station without installing a screen to keep clothing and trash away from the station is pointless. He has asked the commissioners to aid with placement and maintenance of the screen.
An automated screen — which would dispose of the trash it collected — is estimated to also cost around $80,000.
Peak said he understands that Weiner inherited this problem and is in a no-win situation, but does not believe the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office or commission should be responsible financially.
Peak said sheriff’s office staff has done dispatch for Girard’s fire department, police department and emergency medical services at no cost for 25 years.
“If the city had to fund three dispatch positions for the last 25 years, it would total almost $2 million in wages,” Peak said.
Peak also said the jail and courthouse are two of the largest consumers of utilities from the City of Girard, creating revenue for the city.
A solution is needed soon, as a failure at the lift station could mean the sewer system at the jail and other buildings connected could be down for six to eight weeks while the city works to replace the station.
Commissioner Jeff Murphy said he believes manufacturing a manual screen, which must be cranked up and emptied manually, would be the best option, and an estimate on what it would cost is needed.
Commissioner Carl Wood said the county can help pay for the screen, but would like Girard to eliminate the county’s sewer fees for a period of time to pay the cost back.
Weiner will take this proposal to the Girard City Council at their regular meeting Monday, and return to the regular commission meeting Tuesday with an update.
Peak also said in other business that Saturday is the 150th anniversary of the Crawford County Commission and Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. Peak presented the three commissioners, County Clerk Don Pyle and County Counselor Jim Emerson with CCSO challenge coins to commemorate the event.
The county will also begin construction on a raised pad for the Angels Among Us building at the Crawford County Fairgrounds on Monday. The pad is being raised to meet state and county floodplain development regulations.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.