Union Rome deserves safe, reliable wastewater management


Union Rome can no longer afford the costs of managing its wastewater plant

The costs of owning and operating Union Rome’s wastewater system are rising fast – from stricter regulations to the rising costs of labor and materials, to the additional expertise needed to handle modern wastewater challenges, costs are skyrocketing.

And this comes at a very bad time for Union Rome – the county;s wastewater system is already more than $20 million in debt.

That's why the Board of Commissioners decided to sell the Union Rome wastewater system.

Had the County decided to keep the system, monthly rates needed to increase by $37 for a total of $87 per month just to break even, and that would not have addressed any needed improvements. That's how bad things had become.

Aqua has a dedicated and expert workforce solely focused on helping Union Rome.

Why Lawrence County Commissioners Supported the Sale Unanimously

“In the long run, I believe customers will receive more reliable service, the system will be better maintained and rates will be more predictable than if we tried to continue ownership as a government-run operation” - President of the Board of Commissioners Dr. Colton Copley

“Operating a wastewater system is a lot more complicated than it was even a few years ago. Technology, regulatory requirements and environmental standards are continually evolving. It is more and more difficult for small communities to operate sewer systems. That's why selling the system to Aqua makes sense.” - County Commissioner DeAnna Holiday

Here’s what Lawrence County gets by selling to Aqua
  • Safe, reliable wastewater management. As a regulated utility, we must meet strict quality and operations standards.  
  • Transfer of all risk from Lawrence County to Aqua. Non-compliance with regulatory and environmental demands costs even more money – consent decrees and fines add to the financial burden. With a sale, Lawrence County will no longer bear any of the financial or other risk of owning this wastewater system.
  • Guaranteed jobs for current wastewater employees. We will offer jobs to all current Union Rome sewer employees, pending our customary background checks and drug screenings (because public safety is our top concern).
  • Guaranteed improvements to the wastewater system. Aqua is ready and able to spend the $12.7 million over the next five years that will be needed to comply with wastewater regulatory and environmental requirements.
  • A clear path for Union Rome and Lawrence County to invest in other priorities. Aqua is paying $25.5 million for the wastewater system – more than enough to erase the $20 million debt burden you now have. Plus, Union Rome  won’t have to pay any more of the ongoing costs to manage wastewater. 
  • Lower rates than if the wastewater system remains owned by Union Rome. Your wastewater rates could more than double overnight if the system isn’t sold. Commissioner estimates show they would need an increase of at least $37 per month, making the average bill to more than $85 per month in 2023. And that’s just to ‘break even’ – they say that would not pay off the $20 million in debt or fund the nearly $13 million in badly needed infrastructure improvements. At this time, we expect that once Aqua owns the system 2023 rates will be less than $65 a month.
  • Financial-support programs for customers who have difficulty paying their bills. We live here too and we know that everyone can need some help sometimes. That’s why we created our Aqua Aid financial assistance program for Ohio. We also encourage anyone needing some extra help to apply to a temporary emergency-assistance program for household water from the federal government.
  • The help of a trusted neighbor. We already help several communities in eastern Lawrence County, more than 300 in Ohio overall, and more than 1500 across eight states. We can help you too.

It’s time to trust Union Rome’s wastewater management to the respected, reliable experts at Aqua Ohio.

We look forward to serving you.

See how we've helped other Ohio communties