Many residents have been paying more for water and sewer services.
The Village of Baltimore was forced to improve its water treatment plant after the Ohio EPA threatened $10,000 a day fines for violating clean water standards.
Mayor Robert Kalish said that the threat of fines were too much to ignore.
The village spent $5 million to improve its wastewater treatment plant, making drinking water cleaner for its 3,000 residents.
The cost of the procedure was passed onto Baltimore water customers. Residents will pay $33 a month for sewer debt and $10 a month for water debt.
Some of the debts are not expected to be paid off until 2042.
"I think a lot of communities feel like, 'Well, can we just put this off? Can we just do it another decade,'" said Ohio EPA Spokeswoman Linda Oros.
Oros said that it's her agency's duty to enforce federal EPA regulations. She said that putting off modernizing water and sewer systems only makes the costs greater, especially when so many systems are outdated as it is.
"If a system's 100 years old, we have to realize it's not going to continue to function properly forever," Oros said. "These needs do need to be addressed at some point."
EPA data shows that water rates in Ohio have risen from $155 in 1984 to $503 in 2010, a 225-percent increase. Sewer rates raised more -- from $138 to $536, a 288 percent hike.
Kalish said that everybody should be prepared to pay more.
"It doesn't matter if it's a 3,000 village under, like Baltimore or a city the size of Columbus," Kalish said. "They're forcing these issues and the cost up onto the average user."
The Ohio EPA said that a recent study shows Ohio is in need of $25 billion worth of sewer and drinking water infrastructure improvements.
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