OTTAWA - The village of Ottawa was instrumental in securing two grants totalling about $200,000 that will pay for two feasibility studies for the processing of manure and regionalization of water and sewer throughout Putnam County.

The grants were received from the state of Ohio's Local Government Innovative Fund and will be used to initiate feasibility studies for the two projects. With the Village of Ottawa spearheading the feasibility study for manure processing, the feasibility study for the regionalization of water and sewer services will be a countywide focus.

During a meeting held Wednesday, December 12 village officials along with a representative from Bob Latta's office, Poggemeyer Design Firm and the Putnam County Educational Service Center (ESC) discussed the feasibility study with Dr. Robert Midden, the Director of the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at Bowling Green State University.

The village has planned to partner with the Putnam County ESC in order to involve students throughout the county, along with BGSU students, to assist with the study. Midden said that students of all grade levels can participate in the studies because the levels of data collection are broad enough to encompass children of all learning abilities.

County students will be involved in collecting water sample, performing field measures, data analysis along with financial analysis. The Putnam County ESC will be involved with assisting local school districts interested in this program and the ESC will be available for the village to work with BGSU for the studies.

The discussion also focused on the feasiblity study of regionalizing water and sewer services throughout the county. This has taken on a priority of its own as new regulations are expected to be put on private septic systems. This coupled with regulations and the cost of running a municiple treatment facility has become nearly impossible for some municipalities.

Recently a group has been formed to discuss the possibility of regionalized efforts. The group has began meeting once a month and discussion have begun on forming a 6119 organization which is a governing group for operating a regionalized effort of public services.

The feasibility study will work similar to the manure study in that it too will be run through the county ESC and utlize students throughout the county. Studies will be done on the economic impact for businesses, household and municipalities that wish to utilize a regionalized system. A study will be done on the current capacities of the existing treatment facilities in the county, including Ottawa's water treatment plant.