Storm damage still being assessed


The Highland County Board of Commissioners opened bids for planned improvements to the Rocky Fork Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant at its weekly Wednesday morning meeting.

This project includes the following: construction of two new secondary clarifiers, construction of new RAS/WAS pump station, replacement of up to four brush aerators in the oxidation ditches with new disc aerators, replacement of existing mixer with new mixer, construction of new flow splitter, demolition and utility relocation work, yard piping/valves, electrical work associated with improvements and miscellaneous replacements/upgrades.

The board of commissioners opened bids from five companies including Doll Layman LLC, The Righter Co., Inc., Sunesis Construction Co., Doll Layman LLC and Mechanical Construction Co., Inc.

Commissioner Dave Daniels said that because this specific bid packet was “fairly complex,” the board would have its engineers look the bids over. He said they would probably have a recommendation back by next week.

In other news, Dave Bushelman, director of Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), attended the meeting to discuss updates from the organization regarding last Friday’s severe weather.

Bushelman said the National Weather Service (NWS) determined that two tornadoes were in the county. However, he said they were now looking in the Sinking Spring and Marshall areas again for the possibility of a change in whether there was a tornado there or not.

He said that at the height of the power outages on Friday, 20 percent of customers, or about 4,500, in Highland County, were out of power.

Bushelman said that Friday night the Highland County EMA opened up its Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which consisted of the Highland County EMA, the Fayette County EMA, two employees from Highland Soil & Water Conservation District, one member from the Highland County Health Department and one Ohio EMA board member, with commissioner Brad Roades also in contact.

He said they took “a lot” of field reports on Friday, gathering information from the Leesburg area. However, he said Saturday was the big day for the reports as well as damage assessments.

Bushelman said representatives from Butler, Clinton, Fayette and Brown counties assisted with the assessments, with Butler and Clermont counties having more on standby as well as the Ohio EMA.

Bushelman said 58 total primary residential damage assessments were done. He said of those, four were categorized as destroyed, two as major, 17 as minor and 35 as affected. He said that the assessments are for only residential properties, not businesses, agriculture or vacation homes. For agricultural assessments, he said the Farm Service Agency (FSA) reported that seven structures were destroyed, seven were damaged, one silo was damaged and one grain bin was damaged.

“I certainly think we all would wish to thank all the first responders and EMA and everybody that lent assistance to folks, and going forward, kinda, continue to recognize those folks that work in that space and thank them for all their efforts,” Daniels said.

In other EMA news, Bushelman said that he hoped to have the new communications tower at the sheriff’s office finished within the next week or so.

Daniels said that the Pendleton estate recently left a “significant gift” to the county and the Highland County Humane Society. He said $250,000 was willed to the Humane Society specifically for “animal care,” while an initial $31,000 was allowed to be used as an investment for Highland County as a whole.

The board of commissioners also approved an authorization to execute for Homestead Drive surveying by McCarty Associates for $2,500.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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