Ottawa County collaborates on economic development-focused water and sewer study

Mar 5, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 1 comment

A collaborative water and sewer study implemented by Ottawa, Lucas and Wood counties has the potential to attract federal and state funding to the region.


Ottawa County is participating in a tri-county engineering study that addresses Northwest Ohio’s long-term public water supply and sanitary sewer needs. Results of the study have the potential to impact business development in the region, bringing economic benefits, including job creation.

Ottawa County, Lucas County and Wood County are collaborating on the study with the involvement of the Ottawa County Commissioners, Lucas County Commissioners, the City of Toledo and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District (NWWSD). The study, which is funded by the participating communities, will be managed by NWWSD.

By working collaboratively, the counties have better opportunity to leverage state and federal funding.

“There is a substantial amount of state and federal money to create economic growth,” said Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer Kelly Frey.

The water and sewer study was inspired by Governor Mike DeWine’s visit to Toledo in January.

“The governor had been touting economic development in Ohio,” Frey said.

Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer Kelly Frey said a tri-county water and sewer study could positively impact local economic development. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

DeWine’s visit came on the heels of the 2021 Toledo Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which creates a blueprint for local economic growth.

“With Gov. DeWine coming to Toledo promoting economic growth and the creation of the study, the question became: How will we provide water and sewer to the area,” Frey said.

The three counties worked cooperatively to implement the water and sewer study, which focuses heavily on ensuring capacity to support future growth in the region.

“We decided to sit down and look at long-term water and sewer needs and develop a master plan,” Frey said. “The report will specifically identify water and sewer availability in the area and what it would take to provide that to developers.”

Once the study is done, the data will be available to potential developers to help them determine the feasibility of investing in the region.

“It cuts down on their work, so there’s a better opportunity for success,” Frey said. “It makes the Toledo area more attractive to developers.”

The study lays out a welcome mat for businesses.

“We want to show any potential developer that Northwest Ohio is open to business. We’re excited to have you here,” Frey said. “As the community grows, so grows economic development for everyone.”

Frey said the study is expected to be completed in six to eight months.

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Gresser

    The question was brought in the middle 1980’s to the County Commissioners about what it would take to bring in business that would bring real jobs. John Papcun said on Now You Decide, the Regional Water and Sewer project was needed to be done before attracting nw business to the County. The water and sewer has been done since 1995. What has the OCIC done since? NOTHING!!!! And now 29 years later they’re saying again we need to do more to attract business. Why wasn’t it done then?


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