ONTARIO — Ontario City Council voted Wednesday night to apply for a state grant program that aims to help communities reduce the number of lead pipes they have servicing public water systems.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s website, the H2Ohio initiative may grant up to $50,000 for projects of identifying and mapping lead service line information to prepare for future replacement of lead pipes.

The grants do not support physical replacement of lead pipes, but aim to identify where the pipes are located to develop a plan to replace them before they corrode and threaten lead poisoning.

The application deadline for the EPA’s lead service line inventory and mapping grant is Sept. 9. Ontario should receive a written award or denial from the EPA by early October.

In landscaping business, Ontario mayor Randy Hutchinson said Council is looking into building another sidewalk on the west side of Marshall Park’s splash pad to provide another entrance.

City Council also approved an ordinance allowing Hutchinson to enter an agreement with Dynegy Energy Services to provide retail electric service. 

In other business, Hutchinson read a proclamation celebrating National Recovery Month.

Joe Trolian, executive director of Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services, told council members the nonprofit is celebrating its first recovery picnic in Mansfield’s Central Park on Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Trolian read a list of other scheduled events for September. Recovery month’s theme is “local hope for local recovery.”

Hutchinson said he encourages all citizens and business owners in Ontario and Richland County to increase awareness of behavioral health services for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

“It’s a great feeling to know that local hope is available to access local recovery,” he said.

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