Coolville, Stewart areas face real dangers

My husband and I live on State Route 144 along the Hocking River, just two miles from Coolville.

Since the transformation of a gas well into a gas injection well on State Route 144, near Stewart, the traffic of large tanker trucks has been an endangerment to this area of Ohio.

The heavy-laden brine trucks go by our home in pairs (most frequently on Wednesdays). They run sometimes in the darkness of the wee hours of the morning until after dark, late at night. The time the trucks ran changed when we requested that the Federal Hocking School System talk to Lee Atha about the danger of the trucks running the same time as the buses to and from Federal Hocking High School.

The bridge right beside our farm is the lowest point on this road and when the river rises, that bridge becomes flooded. We have always kept a yellow “High Water” sign to put out for the road department to warn drivers of the high water on that narrow bridge. The bridge, itself, is very old and has had steel plates to strengthen it from the weight of traffic. We have been talking with a representative of the highway department about a new larger and safer bridge replacing the current one. It is very narrow and if two large trucks or a bus and a truck were to meet on that bridge, it could be disastrous.

Recently, after dark when the water was over the bridge, a large semi-trailer truck was attempting to cross the water from the Coolville side towards our direction and got stuck. He sounded the large air-horn three times (an s.o.s.) call and I went outside to see what was happening. I called out, but only saw a flashlight and no one would answer when I called. Another truck came to his rescue and they got the truck out and went back the way they came.

Another problem brought on by the weight of these trucks is that the road is now cracking and large potholes are developing due to the stress. If one of these trucks were to hit one of those holes and fall into the river, we could have a situation similar to what Charleston, W.Va., has just experienced.

It is my understanding that the liquid carried by these trucks is a substance that contains toxic, radioactive wastes produced from the drilling of gas wells. Some of the trucks are marked “brine”; some are not marked at all. Lately even large semi-trailers are going by that are square and unmarked which may even be carrying a substance produced by the mixture of the liquid substance and sawdust. For all we know, there could be a solidification facility between Coolville and Guysville that we are unaware of (because we are not notified of such facility construction).

I am a survivor of the last environmental battle in Coolville back in the 1990s (the Medical Waste Incinerator Battle) between a company labeled ESI and a group of local residents known as the CCCA. That battle lasted from the fall of 1993 until Easter of 1997. It was a very difficult time in this little community of Coolville. And now the State of Ohio has decided to make our village “ground zero” for the dumping of carcinogenic waste produced from the drilling of gas and oil wells in not only Ohio but other states as well.

People who are not residents of this area are not concerned about this “larger than life” threat to our village, but for those of us who live here the threat is as real as water is wet!

Please look into the real and present dangers I have noted in this letter. The residents of Coolville and Stewart and Guysville are counting on your investigation.

Dorothy J. Rader