Lime: Sidney filesplan, Botkinsdenies permit

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — While judicial and administrative government wheels slowly turn, a spent-lime lagoon in Sidney awaits repair and one in Botkins has died aborning.

Work to fix a leak in the Sidney-owned lagoon has been put on hold pending approval by the Ohio EPA of a plan submitted by the city May 4 for management of spent lime. In the meantime, the spent lime that is being generated here is going into a smaller city-owned lagoon, said Sidney Public Works Director Gary Clough.

The Botkins lagoon, constructed on a farm owned by Jim Pohlman, has been denied a building permit by the village of Botkins and will be filled in.

And a court case concerning Pohlman’s use of spent lime has been continued until June.

Spent lime is a byproduct of Sidney’s water treatment and a good fertilizer. Pohlman’s business, Polhkat Inc., had been subcontracted to transport and dispose of it from the Sidney lagoon so the lagoon could be repaired.

Botkins Village Administrator Randy Purdy said in April that Pohlman built his lagoon to store it for his own use and to make it available to other farmers.

Several Botkins residents had attended council meetings to voice objection to Pohlman’s lagoon. The Ohio EPA became involved when it responded to a complaint by one of Pohlman’s neighbors. In the ensuing investigation, it found that the city of Sidney had not submitted a plan, due in 2014, for the management of spent lime. Unless a plan is on file, spent lime is considered solid waste. That put Pohlkat in violation because the business does not have permits for solid waste storage or use.

“At the direction of the Ohio EPA, we filed a motion for a preliminary and permanent injunction to secure an order directing Pohlkat to stop spreading (the spent lime) and stop storing it,” said Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell. “(Pohlman’s) attorney asked the court to continue the hearing so they could prepare for it.”

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Wood said the judge agreed to push back the hearing until June.

“Pohlkat has stopped doing anything until June, unless an agreement is reached in the meantime, when the city has a proper lime management plan in place,” she said.

Ohio EPA spokesperson Dina Pierce said Wednesday that the plan submitted by the city is under review. She could not estimate if or when it would be approved.

While Botkins denied the lagoon permit because the village doesn’t have permitted or conditional use language in its zoning codes for lagoons, “we’re waiting for direction from the EPA and the county prosecutor concerning land application,” Purdy said.

A Pohlkat representative referred the newspaper to its attorney, Joshua Koltak, for comments. Calls to Koltak’s office Thursday afternoon were not returned.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.