Plan in works to protect Lisbon well field from contamination

LISBON — A committee is being created to develop a plan to better protect the area around the village’s well field from possible contamination by working with the adjacent farmers.

Village Council on Tuesday approved legislation creating such a committee on the recommendation of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The 10-member committee, to be appointed by the mayor, would consist of some council members, the village Board of Public Utilities, an OEPA representative and the farmers who grow crops in fields near the well field, which is located north of town off state Route 45.

Senior water plant operator Chris Peterson said the OEPA came to them and recommended formation of the committee to develop a plan for preventing any pesticides used by the farmers from leaching into the wells that supply water to village residents.

Counclman Jerry Cox suggested they hold off creating the committee for now. “Let’s ask the farmers first to see we what kind of response we get from them,” he said.

“I think the word mandate was used” in his conversations with the OEPA, Peterson said.

BPA member Bill Hoover said this is something they are required to do and the OEPA’s involvement makes it “serious business.”

Peterson said the OEPA prefers a cooperative approach, which is why it wants the farmers on the committee. The idea is to prevent any possible contamination of the village’s underground water supply. “It can be a huge issue,” he said.

Other officials said there were contamination concerns years ago from a commercial enterprise, which is why the village purchased additional property around the well field to create a larger buffer zone. It was also one of the reasons the village built a new a water treatment plant about 10 years ago.

In other action, council voted to spend some of the money set aside for the Willow Grove Park bridge project on hiring an engineering firm. There is currently $16,000 in the bridge replacement fund that consists of $6,000 in individual donations and $10,000 from Ruetgers Chemical. The engineering study is expected to cost about $5,000, but council have to first choose a firm.

The swinging bridge that once spanned the Middle Fork of the Little Beaver Creek at Willow Grove was swept away in the 2004 flash flood. Earlier this year, Councilman Peter Wilson learned from Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson that the Ohio Department of Transportation donates to local communities the discarded steal beams and metal decks from bridge replacement projects, and Dawson has determined erecting a bridge at the park is feasible.

Wilson was told by his colleagues to secure the volunteer bridge committee’s approval before they agree to spend any money from the fund, and committee chairwoman Lynn Holshue sent him a letter stating the members she was able to contact were all in favor of spending money on an engineering study.

“The only way we can do this is to get an estimate first,” Cox said.

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