GEAUGA COUNTY, OHIO (WJW) – An ODOT salt storage facility will soon close after Ohio EPA water quality testing revealed it is likely contaminating the water supply in Parkman Township.
State Representative Steve Demetriou, a Republican representing the area, held a press conference in the Geauga County township Friday addressing the scope of the issue impacting at least a dozen homes.
“There may be more as time goes on that comes up and everyone is experiencing different issues all the way from wells from inside the homes it really starts with wells and remediation and replacement,” said Demetriou.
The Ohio EPA reports testing from 2020 through 2022 show sodium and chloride in the well water supply. In a statement, a spokesperson said while not considered hazardous to drink it can affect the taste.
The initial discovery was the result of homeowner Mike Derifield who began to connect the dots about three years ago when the water began to taste like salt, and the plumbing to his home began to leak, corrode and break down.
“I have lead in my water due to the copper and the solder joints so the water was undrinkable,” said Derifield.
An ODOT spokesperson said in accordance with a directive from the governor, the Parkman Township salt storage facility will be removed and the facility will close by the fall.
The spokesperson did not comment on the water quality issue.
“The contaminant we dealt with is chloride and so that usually the safe level is 250 parts and Mike as an example was well over 1,500 so significant contamination,” said Geauga Public Health administrator Adam Litke.
Litke said there were reports of livestock including horses nearby refusing to drink the water. He said they secured about $900,000 in grants that will go towards the cost of drilling new wells and expanded testing to better ensure the issue is resolved.
“After a long process to get clean drinking water I do have faith in our state government now,” said Derifield. “The wheels of the government they turn slow, but they are turning.”
An Ohio EPA spokesperson said new significantly deeper wells were dug free of charge to residents to prevent this issue from occurring on other properties.