2017-07-15 / News

Commissioners ask ODNR to reconsider ban on water discharges through dam

By Charles Prince


The Licking Fairfield Corporation’s pump protects some 200 acres of prime farmland and Millersport Road by pumping stormwater through the dam into Buckeye Lake. Beacon file photo. The Licking Fairfield Corporation’s pump protects some 200 acres of prime farmland and Millersport Road by pumping stormwater through the dam into Buckeye Lake. Beacon file photo. LANCASTER – Fairfield County Commissioners Steven Davis, Mike Kiger and Dave Levacy asked ODNR Director James Zehringer in a July 7 letter “to review and reconsider allowing dam penetration for the discharge of surface and subsurface water from the west side of Buckeye Lake State Park dam.”

The ban setting a July deadline that has been informally extended to November came in a March 3, 2017, letter to dam front property owners from Michael D. Bailey, Chief of the Division of Parks and Water Craft. Bailey’s letter stated, “We do not believe major infrastructure improvements will be needed to accommodate the vast majority of them (drainage connections). For privately installed water collection and pumping systems operating on the West Bank, ODNR will allow affected private property owners to reroute their storm water to the reservoir feeder canal several hundred feet away.”

Three collection/pump stations are affected:

• West Bank Homeowners Association’s pump protecting about 40 homes and the Licking County Water and Wastewater’s West Bank lift station:

• A pump protecting the Ballard Lane portion of the West Bank; and

• A Licking Fairfield Corporation pump protecting 200 acres of prime farmland and Millersport Road.

The letter notes that Columbia Pipeline Group cut off ODNR’s suggested rerouting to the feeder canal in a June 9, 2017, letter. A Columbia representative wrote, “Property protection regulations prohibit directional boring and open cut installation of utilities within 25 feet of Columbia pipelines.” Columbia’s K41 transmission line is adjacent and under Liebs Island Road.

With Columbia’s veto of ODNR’s suggested ‘southerly solution,’ the commissioners write, “…we estimate costs of $750,000 or more to reverse drainage flows to the west and north, to alter the Lateral A Joint County Ditch, and to accommodate potential modifications for the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s canal to the fish hatchery and the ODOT culvert under State Route 360.”

The letter concludes, “We urge ODNR to allow a single dam penetration (or an over the top solution) under the County’s oversight. By allowing this, the solution will alleviate financial burdens places upon residents.”

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