The Village of Byesville, because it will be supplying water in the relatively near future to the proposed Guernsey Power Plant, will need to expand the capacity of its water plant, officials said.
As a result of that expansion, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the village to develop a source water protection plan, Water Superintendent Kendal Weisend explained to council during a July council meeting.
Because of the planned power facility development, the village will have to expand its production capacity from 2.25 million gallons of water per day to 3.5 million, Weisend said.
The village source water protection area runs, roughly, from the Interstate 70-77 interchange to Leatherwood Road, along Trail Run Road and back to I-77, he said.
Why the need for a plan?
Weisend offered the example of a spill from a brink truck. The plan would spell out who is contacted, what measures are taken and how tests are performed.
“Basically, it’s a contingency plan just for the source water,” he said.
The EPA wants the council to adopt a resolution saying that whoever is in charge of the water department has the backing of council to carry out the plan, he said.
Weisend will be working with officials from the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District in formulating the plan which he expects to have completed by mid-August. The District personnel will help him get out the word to farmers and other landowners about measures that may be need to be taken in the event of a contingency. Signs also will be posted along area highways such as Conquer Hill Road.
Administrator Brennan Dudley said others who would need to be informed of a contingency would include the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and any public individual or company that might be doing something that would affect the village’s source water.
“This would be something on file that they could reference and know that we are using ground water out of [the given] area,” Dudley said.
“Is there any way we can keep these certain trucks off of our roads?” Councilman Bill Albright asked. “If one of them does have a wreck, the brine goes into our ditches, the ditches go into our mines and that’s where we get our water. We’ve got to have some kind of protection there, too. We don’t need those trucks on our roads close to Byesville.”
The village’s legal counsel, Atty. Bill Ferguson, said the village could not prevent such traffic.
“State law prohibits us from restricting brine trucks,” he said. “Only the state can govern oil and gas production and what it takes to produce it. We can’t pass a law prohibiting it, even if we wanted to.”
At the end of the discussion, council unanimously voted to adopt the resolution of support of Weisend’s plan.