Belpre City Council - Belpre will soon have its own EMS service and council addresses concerns over irrigation notice

Utilities Committee Chair Alan Milhone holds up about 30 signed copies of a letter expressing...
Utilities Committee Chair Alan Milhone holds up about 30 signed copies of a letter expressing concern about a recent notice.(Laura Bowen)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 1:42 AM EST
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BELPRE, Ohio (WTAP) - At Monday’s Belpre City Council meeting, council announced that the area will soon have its own EMS service up and running again. Council also addressed a notice that’s stirred up concern from some residents.

In the next week or two, Belpre will once again have its own EMS service. This comes after Belpre ended its contract with the previous Belpre EMS service due to multiple violations.

Belpre’s Law Director Tom Webster said that all board members will be new AKA they are not affiliated with the old EMS service. The organization will not be a city department. Webster explained that it will be a non-profit independent corporation at first but the goal is for it to become a 501c3. WTAP will have more details on that this Wednesday.

Also at the meeting, council addressed a notice sent out to Belpre irrigation system owners that has some residents concerned.

Utilities Committee Chairman Alan Milhone showed WTAP that notice.

It requires you to get a reduced pressure device installed and tested by a professional if your irrigation system does not already have a backflow prevention assembly. This must be done before turning your system on.

The notice states that contaminants can get sucked from private water systems into the public water system during situations like water line breaks or sudden use of large amounts of water. For instance, during firefighting. This order is meant to enforce a way to prevent that from happening.

The notice also states that if you do have a backflow prevention device, it must be tested and the test certification must be sent to the city. If the irrigation system is turned on before the city approves, you will be fined.

The notice also states yearly device testing requirements.

The notice also states that locals must provide and maintain backflow assembly at their own cost and, if they don’t, the water department may shut off water to the property with the unprotected service line.

Council said that this order is from the EPA.

Milhone showed WTAP a letter voicing concerns about the notice. He said that a Belpre property owner wrote it, getting around 30 copies of it signed by Belpre residents.

The letter questioned why there weren’t public information meetings before the order. It also questioned whether there were any local or state codes or regulations requiring backflow device installation in existing systems. There were other questions listed as well.

One local at the meeting voiced concern, saying he didn’t get a warning before receiving the notice. Multiple other residents came forward with questions and concerns. One local raised concerns about the financial cost of following the rules the notice described.

Based on what Milhone and the council president said, council members found out about the notice recently, as in Monday night or only a couple days before.

A public meeting will be held to further explain the notice and answer questions. That will take place at 6:30pm at the city council chambers on March 13th.