Campbell looking at tax levy to fix water system, 100-year-old pipes

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WYTV) – The people of Campbell learned Thursday that their water system is in horrible condition and fixing it will be expensive. Another option is to sell it — Aqua Ohio has already offered $7 million.

Campbell’s Water Treatment Plant needs $6 to $8 million in repairs. Ninety-eight percent of the pipes are over 100 years old and replacing them would be another $2 to $4 million.

At a public meeting Thursday night to talk about the water situation, Campbell City Council President George Levendis was blunt.

“It’s like a dinosaur,” he said. “I went down there. I was, like, traumatized. If I had that kind of equipment in what I do for a living, I’d be out of business in five minutes.”

They showed a picture of a lime machine with holes and a clarifier with a homemade metal band to keep it from leaking.

Residents were given four options — have the Environmental Protection Agency take over, buy water from Youngstown Water or Aqua Ohio, fix the system by passing a 10 mil levy, or sell it.

“Aqua’s going to shut our plant down. They are not going to put $10 million in that. Aqua wants our water customers,” Levendis said.

There seemed to be little support for selling to Aqua Ohio. One resident said they don’t trust the company, saying it hasn’t dealt with the city fairly.

“Are we large enough of a pump station that we could potentially become a competitor to Aqua?” another asked.

Campbell is not large enough, though, because Aqua owns all of the water lines in the communities the city might serve.

Someone else asked about grants and State Representative John Boccieri said they’re out there, but it’s very competitive.

Boccieri also recommended not letting the EPA take over.

So that leaves the people of Campbell paying to fix the water system themselves with a property tax levy.

“We need to do something,” a resident said. “The only thing we can do is come up with money — around 30 bucks a month — and if you sell it correctly, I think you’ll get the people to go along with it.”

Levendis hinted that a property tax levy to fix the water plant may be put on the May ballot. If it were to fail because Campbell residents decide they don’t want to pay, then the system would be sold.