April 3rd, 2013
To: Whom it may concern
From: Tyler J. Elliott, Senior Undergraduate Student, Miami University
Re: Modifying Sec. 923.16(a) of Codified Ordinances of the City of Oxford, Ohio, Title III, Chapter 923
The following page explains the reasoning behind a proposed amendment to Oxford Codified Ordinance 923.16(a) that would ban the injection of wastewater into natural outlets by means of injection well.
Under the current form of the ordinance, which has not seen an update since its initial passage in 1963, there are no means to adequately protect Oxford from the disposal of unregulated wastewater. Ohio Revised Code 6111.043(b) (Regulation of the injection of sewage, industrial waste, hazardous waste, and other wastes into wells) operates under provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 (SDWA). In 2005 the SDWA was amended so as to exclude from regulation the operations, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing and other methods of natural gas extraction. Such operations create a byproduct that contains chemicals and elements known to be toxic to humans, such as barium, strontium, bromides, and benzene.
Given Oxford’s location above the federally recognized Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, which is classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a Sole Source Aquifer (a sole or principal source of drinking water that, if contaminated, “would create a significant hazard to public health”) a greater degree of protection deserves to be afforded to the region than that of which is currently available.
Other cities in the State of Ohio have recently foreseen the potential damages that could be inflicted on their communities through wastewater injection and have passed similar forms of this amendment. These most notably include Mansfield, where a voter referendum banned the practice this past November, and Cincinnati, where the City Council, in August 2012, passed an amendment to their waste disposal practices with near identical language to what the following amendment to the ordinance proposes.
I submitted this, along with the legislation, to the Oxford Environmental Commission on April 3rd. After much debate, parleying, and dialogue, a motion was made to formally endorse my proposed amendment. It passed with a 3-1 vote. The one vote against me, according to the sole dissenter, was based on the fear of the commission losing "political capital" with an impending fight on storm water regulations. This is hogwash and bullroar says I. But I'm over it. A vote against me? I look f*cking edgy now.
I submitted the aforementioned documents to Councilwomen Kate Rousmaniere, and it was then passed on to the city manager with a goal of having it put before Oxford City Council on May 7th for a first reading. It would be at that point that I would give a presentation to the Council and answer any questions. From that point forth, it would be completely out of my hands and on its way to a second reading and then, ideally, a vote.
TILL TIME NEXT.