COLUMBIANA CO. Flood issue awaits answer

A state official said the matter remains under review.
LISBON -- Columbiana County commissioners intend to ask state officials to respond to a proposed remedy for flooding that affects parts of Salem Township.
County Engineer Bert Dawson told commissioners Thursday that he has yet to hear from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding a July 31 letter he sent.
The letter, provided at the agency's request, outlined the county's plans to remedy flooding along parts of Little Beaver Creek in the Franklin Square area, east of state Route 45.
The county is asking the OEPA to review the proposal and inform county officials whether a project can be undertaken to clear a section of the stream of debris, beaver dams and sand bars.
Dawson said he's still waiting for an answer. "We're not getting very far," Dawson said. Commissioners said they will contact the agency and ask for a formal response.
Joe Trocchio, the OEPA environmental engineer who received the letter, said in a telephone interview Thursday that the matter is being reviewed and a response to the county should be coming in a few weeks.
Trocchio noted that Little Beaver Creek is contaminated with Mirex, a carcinogen. Mirex entered the creek decades ago from a chemical plant that formerly operated north of Salem.
OEPA officials must evaluate the level of contamination in the creek where the county wants to remove sand bars, Trocchio said.
The county plan calls for piling the sand bar material along the bank, which may be all right if Mirex levels there are low enough, Trocchio said. If not, the sand may have to be hauled away and placed in a landfill, he added.
County officials are interested in doing the work in coming months, Dawson said.
The choked waterway is causing surrounding fields and a section of Lisbon Road to flood after prolonged rains. Property owners living near the stream came to commissioners early this summer to ask for help in fixing the problem. In his July 31 letter to the OEPA, Dawson said removal of trees and other debris from the creek could be carried out by property owners and residents.
Removal of three sand bars probably would be undertaken by the county or the state department of transportation since the flooding affects a roadway, Dawson said.
The sand bars would be lowered about two or three feet using a small bulldozer or backhoe. The work would take about a day.
A cost estimate for the project has yet to be assembled. The county may seek state or federal money for the effort, Dawson said.

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