Public Facilities and Utilities
Yellow Springs has a history of long-term public utility and infrastructure planning. Over the past 30 years the community has consistently opted to be self-reliant and retain public ownership of the water, sewer, and electric utilities. Environmental and economic sustainability are often key considerations when determining future public utility and infrastructure investments.
Yellow Springs has owned, operated, and maintained its own electric distribution system for many years. The enterprise utility supports its own maintenance and capital improvement investments. In general, the electric system is in good condition, however some business owners expressed concerns about adequate power availability. Larger commercial and industrial developments will need to be evaluated to ensure there is adequate electrical service.
Yellow Springs has a commitment to environmental stewardship both in its land development policies and also its public utility investments. Yellow Springs has one of the largest solar utilization rates for a municipality of its size, and the Village continues to push forward the issues of environment, equity, and equality. To that end, Yellow Springs should continue to invest in its solar infrastructure. Land that is less suitable for residential or commercial development should be prioritized, such as the former Vernay site.
Water and Sewer
The Wastewater Treatment Plant is designed to treat 1.2 million GPD. Currently about 650,000 GPD is treated daily. This 550,000 gallon “surplus” should be adequate to accommodate modest growth.
Like most communities, the Village is dealing with the effects of aging infrastructure. The most pressing issue is stormwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. Water infiltration during significant rain events causes a spike in the amount of water sent to the wastewater treatment plant, occasionally exceeding its processing capacity. In wetter months, the plant treats approximately 880,000 GPD, compared to 300,000 GPD during dryer summer months.
However, the Village has been working to remediate these issues. It recently began a sewer lining program, focusing on the downtown area, which has the oldest infrastructure. These improvements will mitigate infiltration issues and eliminate or greatly reduce surges at the wastewater treatment plan during periods of heavy rainfall. This is an important project since climate change is expected to result in stronger, more frequent storm events.
Additionally, the Village should continue to encourage downspouts and sump pump disconnections from the sanitary sewer system. While this was a common practice, changes to environmental regulations coupled with increased demands on the waster water treatment system, mean these connections directly impact the effluent discharge that occurs during heavy rain events.