Pickerington prepares for legal battle with Ohio EPA
Pickerington is preparing for a legal battle with the Ohio EPA.
The OEPA gave the city until 2009 to stop polluting Sycamore Creek.
The salt-based water softener used at the city's Water Treatment Plant (WTP) creates a byproduct of tiny particles called Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Pickerington Staff Engineer Brenda VanCleave said.
The byproduct flows to the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) off Hill Road, but the particles slip through the filters and pour with the cleaned water into Sycamore Creek, VanCleave said.
In a letter to the city, the OEPA stated that the organisms living downstream from the WWTP have been harmed by the particles.
The city could fix the problem with a reverse-osmosis system that would also improve the taste of Pickerington's water, but that option would cost the cash-strapped city $2 million, VanCleave said.
Instead, the city hired a company named EnviroScience to challenge the OEPA's claim that the life in Sycamore Creek has been harmed.
EnviroScience has yet to submit its official report, but has indicated to Service Manager Ed Drobina that the findings were in the city's favor.
"Which means we are really not killing a lot of minnows downstream," Drobina said.
Councilman Brian Wisniewski said at the Nov. 18 council committee meetings his understanding was that the OEPA determined that salty Pickerington wastewater had already killed animals downstream, but if the city fixed the problem life could return.
Drobina said that when he receives the official report, he would forward it to the city attorney.