WEATHERSFIELD Officials plan to correct sewer that runs to mine shaft

A citizens group is concerned about the effect the sewer may have on the area's drinking water.
WEATHERSFIELD -- Before winter, township officials hope to correct a problem of sewage dumping into an abandoned mine shaft.
Members of the Weathersfield Township Responsible Citizens Association contend investigations of the sewage's destination from the administration building were initiated when they started asking questions.
Township officials say they started looking for where the lines link with a sewer before the group broached the issue.
David Pugh, township administrator, said the issue surfaced in February or March when officials wanted to put an addition on the Prospect Street administration building.
"We were looking at expanding the building and we couldn't find out where the sewer was going," said Fred Bobovnyk, trustee chairman.
Cost estimates: The township has received contractors' estimates of $9,000 to $10,000 to disconnect the line in the building's parking lot and connect it to a line along the road that leads to a sewer.
The work also includes a lift station, and Pugh expects the work to be done before winter and possibly as early as next month. The price doesn't include electrical work for which the township will obtain separate estimates.
The township contacted the county health department, where Trustee George Buccella works as administrator, to determine if they had any records of the lines leading from the building connecting to a sewer. They didn't.
The township, with help from the health department, first tried putting dye in the line to try to determine the destination. When that didn't work, the county sanitary engineer's office used a camera in the line to try to do the job.
That didn't lead to a destination either, leading officials to conclude that the line dumps into a mine shaft.
Mine map: The Abandoned Mines Web site by Youngstown State University's geology department maps abandoned mines throughout Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties.
The map shows the south central portion of the township dotted with mines.
Many years ago, builders directed sewage lines into the mine shafts. Township officials believe it was never changed at the township building, which was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s. An addition expanded the building in the mid-1980s.
"We don't want to this to be a problem now that we've determined there isn't a sanitary sewer," Bobovnyk said.
WTRCA officials say they're concerned about the untreated sewage getting into the water supply and they've contacted state authorities.
Kara Allison, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the agency would rather see a political subdivision correct a problem than begin enforcement.
"The fact that they're willing to correct the problem, that's good news," she said.
Pugh said the township hasn't been contacted about the problem by any state authorities and doesn't expect any citations as long as the problem is corrected.
"Now that we're aware of it, if we refused to fix it then we could be in trouble, but that's not the case," the administrator said.

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