Chillicothe couple says dream property has turned into a nightmare

Tara-Lake cabin.jpg
In the last two years, the Baxters say runoff sediment from a sand washing company is draining into the water and reducing the depth. (WSYX/WTTE)

A Chillicothe couple says a sand washing company muddied up what they had hoped to pass down to their children.

Tammy and John Baxter built a cabin on land they bought in 2015 on Whiskey Run Road. The cabin sits on a pond fed by a natural spring. In the last two years, the Baxters say runoff sediment from a sand washing company is draining into the water and reducing the depth.

Ohio Basic Minerals, Inc. isn't operating its plant right now as the Ohio EPA says it works to come into compliance with some violations.

"When it rains, it pours mud," said John Baxter.

Baxter's view of his back pond is much different from when he first bought his property two years ago.

"It's way more than an eyesore, because it's filling the lake up," said Baxter.

Baxter says the problem stems from sediment piled on a ridge overlooking his land.

"When it rains here, the water from up where they're dumping it is washing it right down into the spring and it comes down here," said Baxter.

Baxter walked up the hill to show our camera.

"This is what they said they cleaned up, it's what's going on me and they didn't," said Baxter.

According to the Ohio EPA, Baxter's wife called in a complaint in March about storm water and sand making its way downhill to their pond.

The Baxters say they first noticed the issue with their front pond. Then two days later, they say they saw the same problem with the back pond where their cabin sits.

On May 1st, the Ohio EPA sent Ohio Basic Minerals, LLC a violation notice. The same day, the property was sold and the name changed to Ohio Basic Minerals, Inc. A May 5th inspection found sandy water being discharged. The new owner, Carey Carlson, voluntarily ceased all sand washing operations. A second violation notice went out in late June after some violations had not been addressed.

The Ohio EPA says as of July 27th, the company has made significant progress.

"They're just trying to paint a pig and throw some grass on it. That looked to me like what he's doing," said Baxter.

Carlson says they were made aware of the issue that was created by the former owners and addressed the problem by extracting and removing sanding material then put down seed, grass and straw.

"He told me they had just been up there and cleaned it up and, as you can see on my foot, I could have went to my knee how deep. It still is not being cleaned up. He just threw some grass seed down and called it good," said Baxter.

The Ohio EPA says Ohio Basic Minerals hasn't operated since the second week of May and any runoff at this point would be rainfall.

"I want it cleaned up so it ain't coming in and filing my lake. I just want a lake where I can jump in and swim and have my grandkids, who are 9 years old now, something I can leave them," said Baxter.

The Ohio EPA says once all violations are corrected, they'll send the company another letter showing they've resolved the violations and to document the company's return to compliance.