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EPA efforts will effect Franklin Township
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to prevent degradation of Ohio’s waterways caused by improper use of storm-drains.
To that end, it has issued what is known as a NPDS phase two storm water permit to the state’s most rapidly developing, urbanized counties, and the effects of the permit will be felt in Franklin Township.
Essentially, the permit sets forth guidelines for the counties, and provides feedback pertaining to the development of plans, both short and long-term.
Under the permit, Franklin Township must meet four criteria to achieve compliance, explained Paul Wenning during the July 8 trustee meeting.
The first requirement is public education and outreach, explained Wenning, the special project coordinator for the Franklin County Board of Health.
Wenning explained that under the public education and outreach criteria, the township must reach out and spread the word amongst residents on issues such as the proper and improper uses of storm-drains.
In addition, the permit also specifies public participation, he said.
Public participation can come in many forms, but essentially it is getting the community involved in projects, such as a community clean up day, explained Wenning.
Something as simple as a community clean-up day prevents trash from getting into the storm-drains which than prevents it from traveling to our rivers and streams, he said.
Franklin Township must also demonstrate what is known as good housekeeping, said Wenning.
Good housekeeping directly relates to township facilities, he explained.
To achieve compliance with that objective, the township must provide a written report on what it does to prevent contamination of storm-drains through its practices and also develop better practices, he said.
The last stipulation under the permit relating to Franklin Township is referred to as illicit discharge detection and elimination.
Under this requirement, the Franklin County Board of Health and the Sanitary Engineer have been working to identify all sewers in the county and have created a ranking system that will objectively identify the areas with failing or outdated septic systems.
The reason this is important he explained, is because often times when septic systems fail it either directly or indirectly affects the storm-drains.
In the past, identifying these failing systems was complaint driven, said Wenning.
However, now the county will look at several factors in addition to complaints to identify areas of concern.
Those factors include the size and proximity of homes in the area, the quality of the soil and whether or not the homes are on wells, said Wenning.
Based on this ranking system, the county has identified 13 areas within the township that it considers a priority, excluding the areas of Mon-E-Bak Farms and Brown Road East which are scheduled to have shovels in the ground for new sanitary sewers by the end of this year.
Some areas are more urgent than others, he said, including Holiday Hills, Neff Subdivision and Eureka Park.
Based on the determinations made by the new ranking system, the sanitary engineer will develop both short and long-term plans, he added.
First, it will be determined if it is possible to sewer the area. Next, a time-line for plans will be created, and lastly, in instances that are a priority, both entities will work with the community to develop short-term low-budget solutions until a permanent solution can be implemented, he said.
Wenning emphasized that this process will take time. In some areas it could be many years before the sewer issues are addressed.
However, as a result of the process, some areas have been identified as needing sewers that previously may not have been and some areas that were thought to be of concern, have been crossed off the list because sewers were identified.
The county’s compliance with the permit is expected to be achieved by 2012 when it expires.
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