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Washington County Commission appoints Wright as designated sewer engineer

(Photo by Michele Newbanks) Washington County Commissioner Kevin Ritter reads a statement about a recent public meeting on a proposed injection well site in Warren Township.

Washington County Engineer Roger Wright was designated county sewer engineer at Thursday morning’s meeting of the Washington County Commission.

Commission President Charlie Schilling said they had been talking about the designation resolution for some time.

He read the resolution which noted the Ohio General Assembly adopted House Bill 201 in 1991, permitting a board of county commissioners to appoint the county engineer as the county sewer engineer.

The county engineer could be compensated for services as the sanitary engineer.

Wright would assume operational control of daily sewer department operations starting this month.

As sanitary engineer and per Ohio Revised Code 325.18, he would receive an additional $20,000 annually with a yearly cost of living raise. The appointment shall be automatically renewed each calendar year for a period of five years, expiring in December 2026.

“Roger has put in countless hours since the beginning of this sewer project. Literally we had to drag him to the table kicking and screaming to say ‘you ought to be compensated for the time and expertise that you’re putting in,'” Commissioner Kevin Ritter said.

“This is us finally putting on paper what we’ve been saying for months.”

He said they are extremely appreciative of the time Wright has put into the sewer project.

“I think the reality is, when you come into office like this, none of the three of us are experts when it comes to county sewers. We’re not,” Schilling said.

In other news, Ritter read a statement regarding the recent public meeting held by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource regarding a proposed new injection well site.

DeepRock Disposal Solutions LLC is applying to permit a well for the injection of brine water produced in association with oil and natural gas, Ritter said.

“Because of the documented failure of the Redbird #4 well, in addition to recent worries raised by oil and gas producers in the Veto Lake area, we have serious concerns with the permitting of another injection well in our county,” he said.

He said during the public meeting, the public was allowed to comment on the proposed injection well site, but ODNR representatives did not address either questions or comments that evening.

“While we appreciated ODNR hosting the event, the format did little to allay the concerns of the nearly 200 people in attendance,” Ritter said, calling the meeting a “farce.”

He said the board “implores the state to take seriously the concerns of Washington County residents.”

“ODNR claims that injection wells can be done safely,” Ritter said. “For the residents of Washington County to feel confident in this assurance, a great deal more education is necessary. Until such time as this can be accomplished, it is the unanimous position of this board that consideration of new injection well permits should be suspended.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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