Amanda Miller

Richland County wastewater treatment director Amanda Miller and Chuck Minnich, the county's building maintenance superintendent, meet with county commissioners on Tuesday morning.

MANSFIELD -- Amanda Miller said Tuesday there is safety in numbers during times of emergency.

Richland County commissioners approved the wastewater treatment director's request to join Ohio WARN, a statewide mutual aid network for wastewater treatment facilities.

Ohio WARN is a water/wastewater agency response network that bills itself as "utilities helping communities," according to its website, offering resources to allow an area to recover more quickly after a natural or man-made disaster.

There is no cost to join the network and becoming a member doesn't mean a participating county has to assist other members if the need arises, Miller said.

She discussed with commissioners, for example, the network could also be beneficial if wastewater supplies ran low or equipment broke down. The supply chain for some items has become more unreliable since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Miller said.

"A lot of the supplies we need are wastewater specific and the only place we could find them quickly is from other networks," she said. "Being a part of the network, we could ask for help."

Richland County EMA Director Rick Evans joined Miller during the meeting, recommending the move.

"I think it's very good," he said. "To me, it acts like statewide mutual aid with fire and law enforcement. It doesn't cost anything and it doesn't bind us to provide help."

It was one of four requests Miller had for commissioners Tuesday, all of which were approved.

Commissioners also approved a $45,000 request for a new 1,600-square foot roof at the wastewater pumping station on Illinois Avenue. The building was constructed in 1995 and has the original roof. Miller, who said the money will come from the wastewater budget, said she hoped to have the new roof done this year.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a $38,904 side-trac easement machine, which will allow the wastewater department to more easily access and clear sewer lines in harder-to-reach areas.

Finally, commissioners "qualified" a list of nine engineering firms to be considered for upcoming wastewater treatment projects. The nine responded to a previous county request to submit qualifications for sanitary sewer projects.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"