Proposed Wayne Co. storage pond at center of environmental debate

CANAAN TOWNSHIP, OHIO - A renewable energy company's proposed plan for an undeveloped piece of land is the cause of concern for several people living near the site in Wayne County.

"If we just sit on our hands hoping it will go away it will never go away," said resident Ron Uhler who lives nearby.

Uhler is one of many community members banding together under the leadership of Mark Cottrell who formed a social media advocacy group about the issue.

"It's Canaan residents against the poop pond," explained Cottrell.

According to the Ohio EPA, Quasar Energy Group submitted a permit proposal for an 10 million gallon storage pond on an undeveloped piece of land in Canaan Township along Pleasant Home Road.‚Äč Cottrell says they understand untreated human waste will not be dumped into the pond but question the materials that will be allowed.

In a fiction vs. facts flier given to some residents, a Quasar spokesperson states the pond will contain less than 20 percent of biosolids, which have gone through the wastewater treatment and anaerobic digestion process before reaching the pond. The contents of the pond will be applied to fields that grow corn, soy beans, hay and wheat for livestock consumption. Effluent, or liquid waste will not be applied on fields that grow crops for people.

Some residents say the pond has potential to lower property values and will likely cause an unsavory aroma near their homes. A spokesperson for the Ohio EPA says a public hearing is planned for the future regarding this topic.

"The things that we worry about is water contamination, run off from this pond," explained Cottrell. "We have pictures of that area that floods and goes right into a stream that's nearby. What are they going to do to stop that?"

According to the advocacy group's latest social media post a community meeting will be held on March 14th at 6:30 p.m. inside the old Creston Middle School.

A GoFund Me page called "Canaan Residents Against Pollution," has raised more than $1,100 dollars. The group states the money will be used for legal fees and other expenses.