Concerned locals question Belpre irrigation system notice

Locals voiced questions and concerns over the notice.
Locals voiced questions and concerns over the notice.(Laura Bowen)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 1:51 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OHIO, Belpre (WTAP) - Belpre locals gathered for a passionate meeting at city hall about a notice sent out to Belpre locals who own irrigation systems.

An official from the water and sewer department as well as an official from the Operator Training Committee of Ohio were there to address questions and concerns. Multiple council members and the mayor sat in on the meeting.

The notice in question informed Belpre irrigation system owners that they are required to install a reduced pressure device if their irrigation system doesn’t already have a backflow prevention assembly. If you do have that assembly, it must be tested and a certificate of the test must be sent to the city before using your irrigation system. This is meant to protect the public water system in cases of sudden use of large amounts of water. For instance, when a waterline breaks or during firefighting. The notice explained that sometimes contaminants can get sucked into the public water system during these situations. The device would prevent this from happening.

The notice listed multiple other regulations such as testing requirements.

The notice also outlined repercussions for not abiding by set rules. For instance, locals could get their water turned off.

It’s an order coming down from the EPA. According to officials, it’s coming out of Ohio administrative code OAC 3745-95-01.

An official at the meeting clarified that these regulations are not new. However, the EPA is starting to enforce them more.

Locals brought up multiple questions and concerns, one concern being the financial cost of complying with regulations. Another being the timing of the notice and enforcement as well as the fact that not all irrigation system owners have been notified. An official explained that not everyone with an irrigation system is in the records as having one.

Rules and regulations have gone into effect for residents. AKA residents who don’t comply now can get in trouble.

One local at the meeting voiced that he believes the city should have started the program back when the EPA provided the rules. WTAP is unclear on when the rules were provided.

Multiple other concerns were addressed.

Officials clarified that you only have to be in compliance with the rules if you use your irrigation system.

An official told WTAP that, starting at the end of August, the city could be fined tens of thousands of dollars for violations.

For more background on community push back, click here.

You can read the entire public notice below.

Irrigation system notice page 1
Irrigation system notice page 1(file | file)
Irrigation system notice page 2
Irrigation system notice page 2(file | file)