Trustee: State looking into dumping claim

FARMINGTON – A trustee here said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is investigating claims made last week that a liquid smelling of “salty fuel” was dumped into Swine Creek.

Trustee Kevin Bontrager called Trumbull County Sheriff’s deputies about 2:40 p.m. March 9 to say he was getting complaints from residents in the Curtis Middlefield Road and Bundysburg-West Farmington Road area of a red tanker truck dumping brine into the creek.

Brine is salty water that can come back up the hole when wells are drilled.

A report by a deputy states that black plastic hoses were found along a ditch on the north side of Bundysburg-West Farmington Road. The report noted that the creek was dry at the time the deputy was called out but was expected to be filled with water when the creek rises.

The odor of “salty fuel” was near the hoses, the sheriff’s report states.

Bontrager said he told an Ohio Department of Natural Resources agent that the creek is a tributary to the Grand River Wildlife Area. However, he said sheriff’s officials contacted OEPA officials, who are now investigating.

The state EPA is investigating because ODNR officials said the property is not on state land, and no wildlife were determined to be affected.

Matt Eiselstein, a spokesman for the ODNR, said state EPA officials were called first and samples were taken near the area and came back to be fresh water. He said the state EPA then contacted ODNR.

Eiselstein said the ODNR official who responded on March 9 was a wildlife officer, not a gas or oil well drilling official, and his duties do not include inspecting gas and oil well related complaints.

”They (EPA) told me they would keep me in the loop,” Bontrager said.

He said there are no new wells in the area but several older ones.

A message was left Friday on the ODNR’s after hours media line.