The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 4, 2014

Is brine fine for Conneaut roads? Residents can vote

CONNEAUT — By MARK TODD

Staff Writer

mtodd@starbeacon.com

CONNEAUT — Residents in Conneaut will apparently have a big say in whether brine is applied to unpaved roads to control dust this summer.

In a somewhat unprecedented move, City Council is putting out an appeal to its constituents for their opinions. Residents can participate in the survey by phone or email. A list of contacts is below.

At issue is a request from American Energy, the Cortland oil/gas drilling company that has spread brine for the city at no cost for the past few years. The company wants a letter authorizing the action signed by City Manager Tim Eggleston and City Council President Nicholas Church. The same company has applied to the state for a permit to operate a brine injection well in town. The application is still under review.

Church at Monday’s work session, said he is opposed to spreading brine because of its possible health and environment concerns. He will sign the letter, however, if a majority of council members favor the use of brine.

“If it came down to putting chemicals on the road or putting up with dust, I’d put up with the dust,” he said.

The city already stipulates road brine can come only from oil and gas wells and not injection wells. Brine is a byproduct of the well-drilling process.

Meanwhile, City Hall and council said residents who live along unpaved roads have already begun to complain about dust. Options for brine are few and can be costly.

Councilman-at-large John Roach, a former Public Works Department director, said one year the city purchase manufactured salt brine as an experiment. The substance was very effective (”We never touched the roads the rest of the summer,” he said) but very expensive. Water, meanwhile, can dry in just a few hours.

Council will take comments on the use of brine through this coming weekend. Here are the phone numbers and email addresses of the members as found at conneautohio.gov, the city’s officials website:

• Council President — Nicholas Church (593-1045, nic.church@conneautoh.org)

• Ward 1 — Doug Hedrick (593-1566, dhedrick@conneautoh.org)

• Ward 2 — Phil Garcia (599-7611, pgarcia@conneautoh.org)

• Ward 3 — Deborah Newcomb (593-5366, d.newcomb@conneautoh.org)

• Ward 4 — Thomas Kozesky (593-1728, t.kozesky@conneautoh.org)

• At-large — John Roach (599-7844, jroach@conneautoh.org)

• At-large — Jon Arcaro (593-4882, jon.arcaro@conneautoh.org)

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