COLUMBIANA COUNTY Authorities discuss flooding problem

The state is advising that federal authorities be contacted.
LEETONIA -- No quick answers are presenting themselves as Columbiana County officials look for a way to remedy flooding affecting the Franklin Square area of Salem Township.
Commissioner Dave Cranmer met earlier this week with representatives of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to talk about the problem.
Beaver dams, brush, debris and sediment are blocking parts of Little Beaver Creek and adjacent feeder streams. With heavy rainfall, the blockages are causing flooding of farmer's fields and a section of Lisbon Road.
Some landowners in the area are complaining about crop losses from washed-out fields.
By meeting with the Ohio EPA, Cranmer said he had hoped to learn whether state permits would be necessary to clear the affected streams.
He also wanted to know if the parts of the creek in question contain Mirex, a carcinogen that invaded parts of the Little Beaver from a chemical plant that operated near Salem decades ago.
State officials who visited the site were unable to answer those questions immediately, Cranmer related.
Next step
Instead, they asked the county to put in writing what it wants to do to clear the stream blockages.
The Ohio EPA will review the proposal and respond formally with its views on what permits, if any, will be necessary, Cranmer explained.
The agency also will research the Mirex issue.
If the toxin is present, it could affect any work done on the stream. Special care would have to be taken in removing and disposing of creek sediment contaminated with the substance.
The Ohio EPA also is advising the county to contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The federal agency oversees some inland waters and may require a permit before any work could be done on the Little Beaver, Cranmer said.
He added that he's hopeful that the letter to the Ohio EPA and the contact with the Corps of Engineers can be completed in the next few weeks.
A funding source has yet to be identified for any project undertaken along the stream. The Ohio EPA has no money available for such an effort, Cranmer was told.
He said he's considering recruiting volunteer labor to clear brush and deadfall blocking the creek.

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