ODNR representatives intend to collect more samples to determine how far the problem extends.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NORTH LIMA -- Nancy Deiger doesn't think it's too much to ask to have clean water running through the pipes of her Beaver Township home.
Water that wouldn't turn her white clothes brown and her bathtub orange; water that wouldn't clog her water system; water her children could safely drink.
"I don't know how I would react," she said. "It's been so long since I haven't had to worry about it. It would be great."
Deiger, representing about a dozen households in the East South Range Road area of the township, has attended recent township meetings seeking the trustees' help in resolving the bad water situation in her neighborhood.
Earlier this month, the trustees said they would set up a meeting with representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to discuss the problem and see what can be done to rectify it.
That meeting is to take place within the next several weeks.
Meanwhile, ODNR representatives, working with the township, said they intend, as soon as possible, to start collecting more water samples from that area of the township to determine how far the bad water problem extends.
"We know it's a bad situation," said Cheryl Socotch, hydrogeologist with the ODNR's mineral resources division. "We're looking at doing whatever we can to help. Right now we want to determine how far-reaching the problem is."
On Thursday, Socotch said ODNR has already determined Deiger's well has been impacted by mining activities in the area, and she knows of other wells that have gone bad. Those residents are eligible for assistance through ODNR's water replacement program because their water sources have been impacted by "old mining in the area," Socotch said.
But now the ODNR needs to look at what replacement program will work.
In the past few years, ODNR has dug a few new wells in the area, but that water also went bad. Socotch said she doesn't know that digging new wells is an option anymore.
Looking into waterlines
Instead, Socotch said she is hoping to work with Aqua Ohio (formerly Consumers Ohio Water Service), a local private water company, to explore extending that company's waterlines to Deiger's neighborhood.
Socotch said Aqua Ohio hasn't been inclined to extend its water lines in the past because no one really knew how extensive the problem was. The pipelines stop just one mile short of Deiger's neighborhood.
"In this case, the more houses the better," she said. "Meaning, the more properties we can determine have bad wells, the more likely it is Aqua Ohio will be willing to service them. In the past, they haven't wanted to extend the lines for just a few houses."
She said an added bonus is the current board of trustees' willingness to help. Trustee Larry Wehr works for Aqua Ohio.
But, Socotch said, the downside is that extending the waterlines could get costly.
"Our agency has some money, but that only goes so far," she said. "We need to look at all of our options and see how we can get this resolved, the township, ODNR, Aqua Ohio and the residents, by all working together."
She noted that residents, with assistance from the township and ODNR, could look into qualifying for various grants and low-interest loans to help pay for the work.
Until then, Deiger said she will continue buying drinking water from the local grocery store. She said in the past several years she has put thousands of dollars towards a new water system and having that system serviced several times.
"The rust is horrible," she said. "It just keeps clogging the system. There are days when it brings me to tears because it gets so clogged it won't even work.
"If they would bring the waterlines to our area, it would be great. I never thought I would say this, but I would love nothing more than to have city water. Please, give me city water."