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Facts VS spin in Devola

“Folks understand something. There is no imminent health threat in Devola.” (Ron Feathers, quoted in The Marietta Times, Feb. 14, 2020). Thank you so much County Commissioner and President Ron Feathers for this crucial and honest piece of information. It is truly sad when you need to congratulate a public official for being the only one willing to speak the truth when the truth is so desperately needed and so clearly evident. The Ohio EPA and Marietta City officials tend to say or imply the opposite and ,of course, some people believe them. Here are some samples: “release of containments from failing septic systems is causing ongoing damage to public health” or “the physical and financial well-being of residents … are at risk,” or “… I am … concerned about people getting sick if the problems aren’t fixed.”

When confronted with the fact however, that Devola’s drinking water passes all sanitation tests, that in 200 years there has never been a reported case of illness from groundwater in Washington County and that in the seven years of, so called, concern about the septic tanks no one has gotten sick – they get silent. What they know, but refuse to acknowledge, is that no argument exists to support the premise that containments in the groundwater make people sick. Further, if there were any real health benefits to sewering Devola, we would have certainly heard them by now. My understanding is that Sewering Devola could, at best, keep the Muskingum River background nitrate level from increasing .0005 parts per million.

And for that insignificant change the residents of Devola are being forced to give a blank check to a Canadian company WSP USA who, through whatever process (or relationship), secured a no-bid contract with our county’s executives. The system they want to sell us uses a grinder pump that only functions when the electric’s working. So, if something like the Derecho hits again, not only would it be hot and buggy without AC or electricity, not only would we be stuck at home with no gasoline, we also couldn’t take a shower or wash our clothes, and if it stayed off long enough, flush the toilet. Plus, this pump needs to be replaced every decade or so at the home owners expense. The project cost is over $20,000 per resident – for nothing. Really a lot worse than nothing when you consider the tearing up of the neighborhood and the inferior sewage system we’re getting stuck with.

Phillip Washburn

Marietta