trustees discuss wellhead protection efforts
Septic tanks dominated much of a discussion on the Villages wellhead
protection efforts during a joint meeting of Village Council and the Miami
Township trustees on March 31. Council president Tony Arnett solicited
advice on how best to inspect the approximately 10 private sewage systems
within the wellhead protection area, calling it low hanging fruit.
Septic tanks are one of 16 potential pollution sources listed in The Village
Wellhead Protection Management Plan, which was written to protect the
public water supply. The plan also lists three identified potential pollution
sources, the Village water treatment plant, Morris Bean & Company
and a Vectren gas line.
The Village in the past has attempted to contact property owners in the
wellhead area by letter, Arnett said. However, the Village needs more
information about the number and quality of the private wells and underground
storage and septic tanks that could affect the five-year time-of-travel
zone, or the area within which it takes water five years to travel to
the Villages wellhead. The five-year zone and the one-year zone
make up the wellhead protection area, which is located outside of Yellow
Springs in parts of Miami, Cedarville and Xenia Townships.
Arnett suggested the Village help property owners pay for water testing
and possibly repairing faulty tanks, as an incentive for people in the
wellhead area to work with the Village on protecting the public water
We dont want to insist but we have an interest in seeing it
gets done, he said. The threat is probably not significant,
but there could be a situation with a property owner deciding to dispose
of household chemicals by one of these mechanisms.
If we can eliminate it for $700, Id be willing to do it,
Trustees president Chris Mucher expressed approval for offering monetary
aid to residents in the one-year time-of-travel area to resolve potential
septic problems on their properties.
But some at the meeting said that potential contamination sources in the
township were insignificant compared to the potential pollution from Yellow
Springs. Trustee Lamar Spracklen said he was concerned that runoff pollution
from the village could be more harmful than the septic tanks in the wellhead
Theres a lot more contamination from 1,500 homes in the village
than in the 10 homes in the five-year area, he said. Eliminating
a problem before it arises is like shooting in the dark, he
The 2001 wellhead plan presents strategies for dealing with on-site wastewater
treatment systems, such as identifying potential problems and educating
the public on waste disposal and proper operation of the septic systems.
Council member Joan Horn suggested a wellhead committee could be charged
with educating the public. Council member Denise Swinger said that a wellhead
committee could be responsible for all the tasks Village Manager Rob Hillard
identified in the 2002 annual wellhead report, which includes the inspection
process for above and below ground storage tanks and sewage systems, township
zoning recommendations, a geology survey, potential expansion of the wellhead
protection area and education efforts.
At the mention of committees handling the process, township resident Scott
Hammond, who was a member of a wellhead commission that Council disbanded
in 2000, said that it would be more effective if township residents could
discuss wellhead efforts on a personal basis with Greene County health
officials or the national conservation office, with whom the residents
You have to build some trust back in the township, said Hammond,
who is a member of the Miami Township Zoning Commission. You need
to start building some relationship. It shouldnt be that big a job.
Township Zoning Commission member Lehr Dircks agreed, urging Council and
trustees to protect the wellfield and respect property owners
Hammond also suggested putting a conservation easement on the wellhead
area to tell the folks you do mean business.
Council members appeared to be receptive to local residents scepticism
about forming a new wellhead committee. Horn suggested that the Village
check into the outreach services the public departments provide and research
how to get an easement on the wellfield. Then she suggested charging the
Village Environmental Commission with some of the tasks that still need
to be done, such as education.
The education issue could be approached in a practical manner by providing
local disposal options for old antifreeze and household toxic waste and
pollutants, Spracklen said. Hammond suggested the Village work with Greene
County on its annual toxic waste cleanup day.
* * *
Council and trustees also discussed creating incentives to attract
developers to a commerce park on land set aside in the Cooperative Economic
Development Agreement. Council intends to give Community Resources money
from the Village Economic Revolving Loan Fund to purchase land identified
in the CEDA, which Council and the trustees approved last year. Community
Resources would then be responsible for finding a developer to build a
park. Council and the trustees would work together to establish incentives
to attract new and local businesses to the park.
It seems everybodys going for tax abatements, Horn said,
asking for other ideas that would make this a really enticing community.
The group appeared to agree that looking inwardly and supporting local
businesses would be just as good, if not better, than attracting new business
from outside the community. Arnett suggested that in order to grow local
businesses the community should focus less on building a commerce park
than on creating a business incubator for agrobusinesses, artists, musicians
and medical practitioners.
Sometimes businesses dont need money but they need help .
. . to create a network structure with a skill base to help local entrepreneurs
get out there, Arnett said. He said the incentives should perhaps
have less to do with relocating a business here and more to do with growing
The next joint trustees/Council meeting is scheduled for June 30.