Water Resources for Smaller Communities
Villages and townships with water supply and treatment problems are invited to bring their troubles to SCEIG – an unusual consortium of government agencies and planning groups. SCEIG – Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group - is a federation of state and federal agencies, local governments, service organizations, and educational institutions. They help smaller communities form partnerships and facilitate funding, construction, training, and maintenance of local services.
While the group meets regularly in Columbus, they recently brought a presentation to northwest Ohio. Those presentations are available here on www.tmacog.org.
The SCEIG was formed to improve services. Steve Grossman, executive director of Ohio Water Development Agency (OWDA), said “In Ohio we have the most programs of any other state. That’s good, but it also makes it complex for smaller communities to navigate.” He added, “We recognized that from an environmental perspective, small communities were not being served in a coordinated fashion.” The OWDA joined forces with the Ohio EPA, the USDA, Ohio Public Works Commission, Rural Community Assistance Program, planning organizations like TMACOG, and others to make things easier. Grossman said,
David Douglas, community programs director for U.S. Department of Agriculture, said of SCEIG, “We can save villages and townships a lot of time and money. They don’t need to spend money just to talk about how to fix a problem.” Elected officials or administrators who want to learn about options or talk about a plan can get on the agenda for regular SCEIG meetings. The group holds bi-monthly Finance Committee meetings meetings in Columbus. Dave Douglas described how SCEIG can help. “A small community with their own system does all the maintenance, all the billing, all by themselves. If we look at the neighboring communities or existing partnerships, we can often recommend a solution that serves more people at less cost.” He noted that efficient water systems often create an opportunities for growth. He cited the operation of Northwestern Water & Sewer District in Wood County as one cooperative solution that works efficiently and cost-effectively. Steve Grossman said that, “We’ve seen some little villages overbuild to pay for, maintain, and administer their own treatment or water supply. There might be a better solution if everyone is open-minded.”
The SCEIG group holds meetings in Columbus in the offices of the Ohio Water Development Authority on 480 South High Street. The quarterly meeting dates for 2015 are Mondays June 1, September 14, and December 7.
For information about how TMACOG and SCEIG can help small communities, contact Kurt Erichsen at 419.241.9155 ext. 126.