Ohio EPA needs to back off on Devola residents

I think it’s time that Devola residents petition Gov. Kasich to call off his EPA. Had it not been for a few vigilant and committed members of our community they would have already sunk us by now. The bulldozers would have rolled, tearing up streets and lawns, government would have been in our yards shutting down all septic systems and each household would be out an estimated $17,500. The community neither needs or wants the proposed sewer system. In January The Ohio EPA, tried to sneak it through by ambush, threatening our county commissioners with a lawsuit if they refused to sign on. (Marietta Times, Jan. 30, 2013).

By petitions and lobbying of few individuals, and the responsiveness of certain elected officials (to whom we are all indebted) the outrageous tax increase was put on hold. Devola residents however were informed at a community meeting, Sept. 18, 2013, that OEPA Director Scott Nally still intends to ram it down our throats by March 2014. If this project is as compelling and obvious as he claims though, why won’t it stand the light of day? Why has there never been a single public forum by the OEPA to present its case and answer our questions?

Exactly what are the standards for ground water nitrates, what are the accepted processes for sampling and measuring them and where do our numbers stand? Can Nally demonstrate that these standards are enforced in a uniform manner throughout the state? What evidence exists that there aren’t multiple contributing sources to ground nitrates; can he guarantee the sewer system will solve the problem? Are there alternative affordable remedies we could look at? Since The Ohio Constitution grants groundwater rights and responsibilities to individual landowners what is the rationale for prosecuting us as a group?

These career bureaucrats at the OEPA’s attitude towards us is indifferent contempt. They show absolutely no concern about the economic hardship they are imposing on a community where many people would be hard put to come up with an extra $1,750, let alone $17,500. Expenses are up, property values are down and jobs are hard to find. Election time is soon. I believe last time the governor favored principals of: reduced taxes, less government, participatory democracy and accountability of elected officials. Scott Nally, his handpicked director from Indiana, answers only to him. Please Gov. Kasich: supervise your staff.

Phil Washburn