CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein

Washington Co. Commissioners Agree to Address Public Health Nuisance in Unsewered Devola

In a settlement with Ohio EPA, the Washington County Board of Commissioners has agreed to develop a plan to alleviate a public health nuisance resulting from ground water pollution in the unincorporated area of Devola, located along County Road 341, State Route 60 and Elm Tree Lane.

In late 2009, the Putnam Community Water Association noted multiple samples of high nitrates in the drinking water provided to the Devola area. The Washington County General Health District asked Ohio EPA to help address the unsafe water supply. Ohio EPA investigated and determined that wastewater from on-site or aeration sewage disposal systems that discharge to ground water were posing health hazards and pollution concerns. Ohio EPA also determined that ground water flow from the Devola area contributed significantly to the exceedance of nitrate standards at Putnam’s well field.

The commissioners have agreed to submit to Ohio EPA timely plans for sewage improvements or other methods of correcting the pollution concerns. The plan should identify alternatives for treating sewage in the area (for example, connecting to existing sewers and directing sewage to the nearest regional wastewater treatment plant). The plan also should propose locations of collection and treatment facilities; cost estimates; and a schedule for submitting permit applications, obtaining detailed plan approval and attaining compliance.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA -- 40 years and moving forward

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