Sat 11pm: Village works to protect water source

GARRETTSVILLE — Doing nothing was not an option for Fran Teresi when it came to safeguarding the village’s drinking water.

As the natural gas and oil industry continues to grow around Garrettsville and throughout northeast Ohio, the trustee on the village’s board of public affairs believes so do the risks of possible contamination of the municipal well.

The water source for 2,400 residents is located outside Garrettsville limits, leaving village officials with no control over the drilling locations for both production and waste disposal wells.

“We don’t own the property. We really don’t know where the drilling is going to go,” Teresi said. “I wondered how are we going to know if this is affecting our water? So I started calling different governmental organizations to get information on how to find out.”

What she found out is that few if any public drinking water sources are doing comprehensive pre-drilling testing.

As a result, this tiny village in eastern Portage County has become somewhat of a trendsetter after its board of public affairs voted unanimously to become the only municipality in Portage, Trumbull or Mahoning counties — and possibly in northeast Ohio — to allocate about $35,000 for a consultant’s study and the Portage County Board of Health to conduct in-depth sampling of ground water to establish baselines of the existing water quality.

“This was basically something I pulled together. There is no road map out there,” Teresi said.

But the expense from limited village coffers has drawn some criticism from residents who wonder why so much money is being spent with no guarantees the data ever will be needed.

Read more about the program, and its pros and cons in the Sunday Tribune Chronicle.