The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 5, 2012

Conneaut waits to resolve water line wetlands issue

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — City administrators in Conneaut are hoping better weather will allow them to make repairs to a wetlands area impacted by a water line improvement project off Lake Road.

City Manager Tim Eggleston, at Monday’s finance/ordinance committee meeting, said crews are waiting for drier weather so equipment can begin restoration work. “We’re waiting for the ground to firm up,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which monitors construction projects in wetlands areas, wants the city to restore the land to its pre-water line condition as much as possible. The city has been ordered to remove a gravel trail that parallels the water line, plus deal with tree stumps that resulted from the project, Eggleston said. After that, the work site must be re-seeded, he said.

The project is designed to improve water volume and service to customers along a stretch of Lake Road near the North Kingsville border. The line is linked to a pipe in the vicinity of Gore Road.

In January, a complaint about the project was lodged with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn conferred with the Army Corps of Engineers. Bruce Sanders, USACE spokesman in Buffalo, recently said the department has been made aware of a “violation” and dispatched a letter to City Hall. An “on-going enforcement action” is under way, he said.

At the end of February, Eggleston told council the gravel path created for the project would disappear by summer. “When we’re done you won’t see a road,” he said at the time.

Much of the water line work is being financed by a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. OPWC money purchased construction material while city crews provided the labor.