Hang onto your wallets if you own a home in Devola and are on septic. The new proposed sewer system, which is being rushed through confirmation, will cost you, I'm told, $10,000 (spread out over 10 years on property taxes) and $5,000 up front for a sewer hookup - you will be forced to buy. In a depreciating housing market and bad economy, it sounds like the worst idea ever.
It well may drive a lot of people to sell their house or forfeit on the mortgage. This could devalue property. It will rip the streets and everything else up. If you don't want it, don't agree to anything associated with it; don't sign a "consent decree."
Apparently, The state EPA, for reasons unknown, is shoving this down our throats. They say it's about ground nitrate levels but they have yet to answer the question (now) County Commissioner Ron Feather's asked in his June 15 letter to The Marietta Times. Specifically, if recent samples show levels lower than the EPA's allowable limits and since we are already installing a reverse osmosis procedure to address the problem (for two million dollars), why do we also need a 5.5 million dollar sewage installation? And (I ask) why the rush; let's see how well the osmosis treatment works.
Instead, as The Marietta Times article of Jan. 30 suggests, our local officials are subject to bullying by the OEPA. "If the county would have refused to act on this project then the Ohio EPA would have been forced to file suit against them," says Steve Wells, OEPA. He then adds, "that type of a process is never beneficial and we always prefer to simply negotiate for the best possible outcome." How big of them; extortion sounds so pleasant.
Which is what, in my opinion, the process amounted to. My understanding is that the county could not survive a lawsuit by the EPA so were forced to agree to a project they didn't want and the residents of Devola neither need, want or can afford. Can the OEPA be stopped from bankrupting Devola? We need to try. Every resident who is upset about this outrageous new tax should strongly, and immediately, seek the protection of their elected officials and get their perspective on potential remedies.