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Parma receives $1 million Army Corps grant for sewer conversions 

PARMA, Ohio -- Parma officials were recently notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the city $1,025,000 toward its estimated $1.3 million Brookdale Avenue and Broadview Road septic system abatement project, which is set to begin next spring or summer.

Mayor Tim DeGeeter commended Assistant City Engineer Hasmukh Patel for procuring the grant, which is from the Ohio Small Communities Environmental Infrastructure Group program supporting water-related infrastructure and development projects that help alleviate environmental infrastructure issues throughout the state.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur helped secure the funds for the roughly 20 homes affected by the septic system abatement project.

"This infrastructure investment is good news for our region and the city of Parma," Kaptur said in a press release. "Projects such as this are critical to the health and safety of our communities.

"These upgrades will create jobs, help improve the quality of life of our residents and are crucial to continued efforts to keep our rivers and lakes clean," she said.

The Brookdale Avenue project, which takes place east of Broadview Road, is part of Parma's next phase of Environmental Protection Agency-mandated conversions of resident septic tanks to sanitary sewers.

Already, the city received a $160,000 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District grant and $250,000 Ohio Public Works Commission grant toward the project.

"I think at the end of the day, our engineering department always does good work to find funding," Parma Service Director Brian Higgins said. "What it's going to do is hopefully help the residents out with their assessment portion.

"We're slightly over in funding, but there will be some administration cost from the Corps of Engineers that will put us in the ballpark to cover the entire project," he said.

Parma Assistant Engineer James J. Mihelich added, "With most projects, there's always something that pops up and additional cost to the project, so until it's all done, we won't know the final assessment."

In 2004, the city identified nearly 1,300 septic systems still existing in the city. Since then, 800 Parma residents -- as part of the Environmental Protection Agency mandate -- have completed conversions throughout the community of 32,000 homes.

The city averages roughly 57 conversions annually, with recently completed projects on Ridgewood Drive and Pleasant Valley Road. Parma has 500 remaining affected homes located all over the community that require septic tank-to-sanitary sewer conversions.

That includes roughly 90 residences in the Broadrock Court and Old Rockside area.

"Currently, the county is doing the Broadrock Road drill drop project, which is $2 million," Mihelich said. "That needs to be completed beforehand, because they basically need something to tie into for the Broadrock Court and Old Rockside project expected to take place next year."

While Parma received grant money to cover the drill drop portion, the Broadrock Court and Old Rockside sanitary project will cost $1.5 million. Regarding the latter, Mihelich said the city has applied for funding from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Army Corps of Engineers.