Severe Weather Awareness Week: Be Prepared!

BATAVIA, OH (March 19, 2023) — Ohio Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 1925.  This is a good time to review emergency plans for flooding, tornados, and strong thunderstorms that can occur in the spring and summer.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is coordinating a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 22, at 9:50 a.m.  Clermont County will not be sounding the outdoor warning sirens at that time. The county tests the outdoor warning sirens on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 p.m.

For more information, contact the Clermont County EMA at 513-732-7661 or e-mail

Content Provided by:  Pam Haverkos, Clermont Emergency Management Agency Director

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Emergency Notification – encourage the public to have multiple ways to receive alerts and warnings


County ready to pursue next step toward transformational projects

BATAVIA, OH (March 15, 2023) – Clermont County is ready to receive $250,000 plus the assistance of state-procured planners to help apply for projects such as cabins or a lodge at East Fork State Park, hike/bike trail improvements and expansion, and a living history museum for Appalachia.

At the request of the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Controlling Board is scheduled to approve $981,975 to Clermont, Brown, Adams and Scioto counties. Clermont, Brown and Adams counties will receive $250,000 each and Scioto will get $231,975, with another $18,025 coming from a grant to mayors.

Clermont County Community + Economic Development, through the Clermont County Port Authority, helped the four-county partnership win the competitive grant available through the Appalachian Community Grant Program. The Technical Assistance Grant was the third-largest awarded out of 22.

“We’re grateful for this support as we proceed to develop transformational projects that will enhance Clermont County, the four-county region and, ultimately, Appalachia as a whole,” said Michael McNamara, Director, Clermont County Community + Economic Development. “The collaboration among Clermont, Brown, Adams and Scioto counties led to this big win for the area. We’re appreciative for the teamwork of so many city, village and township officials and non-profit leaders during this process. More than 150 projects were proposed in the four-county area.”

Community stakeholders will meet at 11 a.m. March 17 in the Clermont County Engineer’s Office to learn more about the process for getting an Ohio Department of Development procured planner.

In 2022, House Bill 377 created the program within the Ohio Department of Development’s Governor’s Office of Appalachia to administer up to $500 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to drive transformational change in the 32-county region. The program is designed to strategically invest in projects that will result in sustainable and transformational outcomes and include health care, infrastructure and workforce components.

Only local government and related entities are eligible to apply as lead applicants, but the program encourages a high level of collaboration to maximize the return on investment. Clermont County Port Authority served as the lead applicant for the four-county region.

Due to the scale and complexity of selected projects and the timeline for completion, the law permits the Director of Development to use $15 million, and up to $30 million, depending on the need for planning. Projects must be completed no later than Oct. 31, 2026.

Development’s Governor’s Office of Appalachia completed an initial review of 50 applications for Appalachian Technical Assistance Grants. Two of the 50 applications were deemed ineligible as part of the initial screening process and all applications that scored lower than the 60 point-review threshold established in the program guidelines were disqualified. A five-person review team of Development staff conducted the scoring. Each application was independently scored by two members of the review team using an established scoring rubric as a guide. Independent final scores were averaged to come up with a final score for each application and the group of scored applications was then sorted on the basis of county impact.

Safety Champion: Derek Spencer

Safety remains vitally important to Derek Spencer as he goes about his job inspecting all of Clermont County’s sewer lines. His work takes him to open manholes, the middle of busy roads, and other potentially dangerous situations. Some holes go as far as 40 feet deep. There can be toxic gases.

“I’m in the field all day, every day,” he said. “I can’t lose sight of the importance of safety.”

Spencer operates two special cameras that ride crawlers of 1.5 and three feet in length through sewer mains and laterals. He records the video on a computer in his mobile office, a large white van. His official title is Collections Specialist in the Water Resources Department.

He uses fall protection and safety equipment such as harnesses and cable winches as he lowers and pulls out of confined spaces. His protection also includes an air quality monitor to detect any gases from sewerage.

“I spend a lot of time checking laterals to see if there is a blockage so we can help homeowners and restore access to our service,” he said. Often, tree roots get into sewer lines, causing backups into basements. Sometimes, ground settles, leading to breaks where dirt backs up a line.

Spencer reviews his findings with his manager James Mattes, Supervisor of the Water Resources Department’s Electro Maintenance and Collections Department, to come up with solutions to the various situations.

“Derek is the eyes of the department,” Mattes said. “He is what leads the department into proper repairing. It’s a very important position.”

State requirements lead to inspection of all sewer lines every 10 years. This allows Water Resources to help protect safety of the environment by detecting any leaking of sewerage.

“If we’ve got a sanitary sewer line there, I’ll make it there,” Spencer said.

Mattes, who has worked for Clermont County since 2004, said his 18-person team takes safety seriously.

“If you’re lackadaisical about it, you’ll get injured,” he said. “Safety starts with the individual. There’s nothing worth you not going home at the end of the day due to injury. We supply an important service, but at the same time we need to take care of ourselves. ”

Mattes said that his team works closely with Clermont County Safety Coordinator Gary Caudill. They review any incidents and make changes to prevent recurrences. This can include additional training or manpower adjustments.

Caudill appreciates the teamwork with Mattes’ department, which keeps priorities such as safety and customer service in the forefront at all times. Caudill noted that Spencer doesn’t lose track of safety duties while going about his essential job.

“We’re lucky to have a good team, supplied with PPE and provided with training,” Mattes said. “Gary does a good job of listening to the guys. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed, we’ll address it.”


Community + Economic Development director to become Butler County Treasurer

BATAVIA, OH (March 8, 2023) — The Board of County Commissioners today accepted the resignation of Clermont County Community + Economic Development Director Michael McNamara, effective March 17.

On March 2, the Butler County Republican Central Committee selected McNamara as Butler County Treasurer for the remainder of the current term.

McNamara worked in Butler County government before coming to Clermont County in 2020. He was chief deputy in the Butler County Treasurer’s Office for five years (2010-2015) and also served in the State Treasurer’s Office,

“Clermont County is an incredible county,” McNamara said. “There is so much opportunity here – and I will miss it here. I appreciate the support our whole team has received from the County Commissioners, from (Assistant County Administrator) Greg (Bickford), from (County Administrator) Tom (Eigel).”

Commissioners Bonnie Batchler, David Painter and Claire Corcoran thanked McNamara for his service.

“You were obviously a very valued employee here – and we know that Butler County will be well served in the Treasurer’s Office,” Commissioner Painter said.

Those interested in the Clermont County Community Development + Economic Development Director’s opening may apply here:

New Land Bank moving ahead with projects

BATAVIA, OH (March 6, 2023) – Clermont County’s Land Bank is off to a strong start, with the demolition of six vacant or blighted structures across the county. Work has begun on another eight structures, with contracts executed for another 10. All work is planned for completion by May 23. (Photo: Before/after in Chilo.)
To see an interactive map of the projects, click here
Last year, the newly created Land Bank was awarded $500,000 from the Ohio Department of Development. The Land Bank has worked with local jurisdictions to identify vacant properties that are eligible for demolition.
The Clermont County Land Bank, officially named the Clermont County Land Reutilization Corp., is a critical tool to assist with underperforming properties. Vacant and blighted structures decrease property values and lead to a host of other problems which drain local fire and police resources.
Members of the board are County Treasurer Jeannie Zurmehly (chair), Commissioner David Painter (vice chair), Commissioner Bonnie Batchler, Jeff Baumgarth (representing townships) and Michael Doss (representing municipalities).

No harmful chemicals detectable

BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 22,  2023) — No harmful chemicals were detectable when the plume from the East Palestine, Ohio, hazardous waste spill passed Clermont County on the Ohio River, according to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). A full data table and accompanying map are available at: East Palestine Ohio Train Derailment Spill Response – ORSANCO | ORSANCO
Clermont County Water Resources Director Lyle Bloom said in an update today to the Board of County Commissioners that four (4) wells were shut down due to rising river levels from Feb. 18-21, out of extreme caution. The county will also continue to monitor for harmful chemicals as an added measure of caution.
The main concern along the Ohio River has been for surface water treatment plants, such as in Cincinnati and Louisville, that pump water directly from the river. Clermont County has three treatment plants, one of which is located in the southwestern portion of the county where it draws water from the Ohio River Valley Aquifer, not directly from the river. Due to the geology of the aquifer, there is little concern about contaminants entering into the wellfields from the river.

County exhibits abundance of caution regarding Ohio River spill

BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 15, 2023) — Lyle Bloom, director of the Clermont County Water Resources Department, and Tim Neyer, assistant director of operations over water treatment, today provided an update to the Board of County Commissioners on the chemical spill in the Ohio River that originated in East Palestine, Ohio.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) has been monitoring and sampling the Ohio River for contaminants. The plume is expected to reach the Meldahl Dam between Monday and Wednesday of next week, depending on rainfall amounts. After reaching the dam, it will take about a half day until passing Clermont County water wellfields, which are located between State Route 52 and the Ohio River.
Sampled concentrations continue to decrease – and it’s very possible that by the time they reach Meldahl Dam, they may be non-detectable, as they continue to dilute. Concentrations could dilute to less than one part per billion.
The main concern along the Ohio River has been for surface water treatment plants that pump water directly from the river.
Clermont County has three treatment plants, one of which is located in the southwestern portion of the County where it draws water from the Ohio River Valley Aquifer, not directly from the river. Also, water in the aquifer mainly goes toward the river, so there is little concern about contaminants entering into the wellfields from the river.
However, in an abundance of caution, as the plume passes – particularly if it’s detectable – Water Resources will shut down the wells that are closest to the Ohio River and just operate the wells nearest to State Route 52.
If contaminants are detectable at Meldahl Dam, Water Resources plans to sample water from the wellfields weekly for a month after the plume passes.
To see the update, visit: / It starts at 26:05.

Update on water quality

BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 14, 2023) — Clermont County Water Resources Department is aware of the train derailment in East Palestine, OH (located on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania) and is monitoring the situation. ORSANCO continues to monitor water quality in the Ohio River and provide updates on the contaminate plume’s concentration and its location as it progresses downriver.

Clermont County has three treatment plants, one of which is located in the southwestern portion of the County where it draws water from the Ohio River Valley Aquifer. This is a groundwater plant and does not draw water from the Ohio River.

In an abundance of caution, if the contaminate plume still has concentrations at dangerous levels when it is passing by the area where our wellfield is located, Clermont County Water Resources may temporarily cease the operation of wells nearest the Ohio River bank until it is determined that the contaminate plume has passed.

Students explore possible careers

A group of students from White Oak High School in Brown County got a first-hand look at possible careers during a tour of Milacron’s Mt. Orab and South Afton facilities on Feb. 1.

Clermont County Community + Economic Development (CED) connected Milacron with The GRIT Project, leading to the tour. The GRIT Project partners with local school districts to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses in an effort to connect them with potential employment opportunities that align with their skillsets,

“Community + Economic Development has met with Milacron a number of times of the last couple of years,” said Scott Gafvert, CED Development Specialist. “Milacron has struggled to find the workforce they need, like all companies nationwide, but have been extremely proactive in utilizing community stakeholders and their connections in an attempt to diversify their workforce attraction efforts.”

Gafvert came into contact with representatives from The GRIT Project and connected program leaders to Milacron. After a couple of meetings between Milacron, GRIT and CED, GRIT decided to arrange a visit to Milacron for a group of students from a yet-to-be-identified local school. That group ended up being from White Oak High School.

“I know they were very appreciative of the Mt. Orab and Afton facility tours, getting to meet and speak with a variety of staff, managers, and leadership at each location as well,” said Julie Marks Dick, GRIT program manager. “We will be following up with the students to get a better gauge of who might be ready to move forward with Milacron.”

New campus planned for Highway Operations, Fleet Maintenance

BATAVIA, OH (Jan. 25, 2023) — Plans for a proposed campus in Batavia that would replace outdated buildings and outdoor storage for County Engineer’s Office Highway Operations and Clermont County Fleet Maintenance are moving ahead.

Clermont County Engineer Jeremy Evans plans to request that the Board of County Commissioners authorize bid advertisements on Feb. 8 for a 7-acre campus with total building square footage of 74,550. Construction would begin in summer and finish a year later, Evans said in an update to the Commissioners today.

The first phase of the Filager Campus, planned for across State Route 222 from existing facilities as old as 64 years, is estimated to cost between $17.5 million and $18.56 million. It would include an enclosed garage for highway operations trucks, space for fleet maintenance and mechanics, a salt barn, a fuel station and covered storage.

Commissioners authorized a Request for Qualifications (RFQs) for the project on June 30, 2021. Eight RFQs were received and reviewed. On Dec. 6, 2021, the board authorized a contract with Garmann Miller, a design firm. Construction drawings were submitted to Permit Central on Sept. 30, 2022.

A second phase would include demolition and cleanup of existing buildings and construction of office space for the Engineer’s Office and Clermont Transportation Connection.