Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is natural gas and where does it come from?
Natural gas is a mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons that occur naturally in the earth. Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas. Natural gas can originate from organic material buried in soil or glacial deposits, organic-rich rocks such as the Ohio Shale Formation, or may be trapped in oil and gas reservoirs deep beneath the surface of the earth.
2. How do I know if I have natural gas in my ground water supply?
Methane is colorless and odorless. Therefore, it is unlikely that you'll be able to detect the presence of natural gas through your sense of smell. Signs that methane gas may be present in ground water include popping or spurting of water at the tap or gurgling noises at the well casing. Bainbridge Township firefighters and Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM) staff are equipped with portable instruments that can detect the presence of natural gas. The DMRM will inform you if detectable concentrations of natural gas are measured during our visit to your home.
3. Why does DMRM pump my water well during the monitoring process?
When a well is pumped and the height of the column of water declines, water pressure is reduced, and natural gas, otherwise not apparent, may be released.
4. If I have natural gas in my water supply, does it mean that it came from an oil and gas well?
Not necessarily. Natural gas occurs naturally, and is common in water wells in Geauga County, specifically in water wells that are drilled to the Ohio shale, a gasbearing formation that is below the deepest fresh-water aquifer, the Berea Sandstone. The DMRM is conducting an investigation to determine which water wells have been affected by oil and gas operation(s).
5. What are the health risks associated with drinking well water that contains natural gas?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ingestion of water containing natural gas does not pos~ a direct health threat. Methane does not have any known toxic, poisonous, or cancer-causing properties. There are no known adverse health affects associated with drinking or bathing with well water that contains methane. However, if your well has been disconnected and then reconnected, because natural gas was detected in your water well, or you are receiving bottled water, the DMRM recommends that you not drink your well water until you receive the results of water quality tests, including coliform bacteria tests being completed by the Geauga County General Health District (GCGHD). Prior to deciding to resume use of your well water for drinking purposes, the DMRM recommends that you consult with the GCGHD and/or your personal physician.
6. What health or safety risks are associated with the use of well water that contains natural gas?
Running tap water in your home can allow dissolved natural gas to exsolve (come out of solution as gas bubbles) and increase the level of natural gas in the air within your home. Natural gas cannot explode unless it reaches a concentration that is 100 percent of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) in the room, and has a source of ignition. The primary danger is when the natural gas accumulates at combustible or explosive levels in confined spaces. Areas of concerns are basements, utility rooms and bathrooms where large quantities of water are used.
7. Under what circumstances would my water well be disconnected from my house?
Any well that has a sufficient concentration of dissolved methane to exceed 10% LEL in a confined space (room), should be disconnected until the concentration of natural gas diminishes.
8. How should I respond to the natural gas measurements provided by DMRM, or my house methane detector?
When DMRM representatives visit your home, they will pump your well and measure methane concentrations at the well vent, and directly at the cold and hot water taps. This screening process tells us whether gas is present at detectable levels in the ground water being pumped from your water well at a specific time and day. These readings do not- indicate whether gas is accumulating in a room at dangerous levels.
If a DMRM representative detects the presence of gas in the running water, he/she will then measure the concentration of methane in the room (basement, kitchen, garage, utility room, etc.). This reading will indicate whether the emission of gas from the running water is accumulating in the room at potentially dangerous levels.
The DMRM recommends the following actions in response to LEL measurements within rooms:
% LEL Range Action
1-4 No immediate action necessary
5-9 Increase ventilation, continue to monitor to see if the % LEL continues to rise
10-19 Shut off water; and monitor to see if % LEL continues to rise
20+ Keep water shut off. Increase ventilation; Evacuate the premises; Call the Fire Department for an inspection (440) 543-9873; Notify DMRM at (330) 896-0616
9. What should I do if my natural gas alarm is triggered?
If you have a natural gas monitor it is generally set to provide an audible alarm when the concentration of methane extends ten percent of the LEL in the room. If you hear the alarm, shut off your running water, ventilate the room, and watch the digital reading on the monitor to see if the concentration diminishes. If the digital reading continues to increase beyond 20% LEL, the DMRM recommends that you evacuate the premises and notify the Fire Department and DMRM.
10. If my water well has been disconnected, under what circumstances would it be re-connected?
When over the course of several weeks of monitoring, DMRM finds the following:
  • No observable or audible evidence of gas in your well; and,
  • Gas readings are less than ten percent of the LEL in your well vent; and
  • Gas readings are less than four percent at the running tap water;

Once the above criteria are met, the DMRM considers it safe for you to reconnect your water supply.
11. Once my water well has been reconnected, how can I be sure that I'm safe?
The best way to ensure your safety is to continue to operate the methane detection system(s) in rooms where you run large quantities of water, particularly hot water (basements, utility rooms, kitchens, or bathrooms).
12. Will the natural gas eventually dissipate?
If your water well had natural gas in it before December 15, 2007, your well will likely continue to emit natural gas from time-to-time in the future. If the gas in your water well was caused by the local oil and gas well operation, the DMRM expects that the gas will eventually dissipate.
13. Why has the natural gas problem lasted so long?
There are a variety of geologic factors that control the dissipation of gas. While DMRM has asked Ohio Valley Energy (OVE) to pump specific water wells to accelerate the process, the DMRM cannot predict how long it will take before gas completely dissipates.
14. If symptoms of natural gas re -appear after my well has been reconnected, what sho uld I do?
If signs of natural gas re-occur (e.g. the audible alarm on your natural gas monitoring system is triggered, spurting water, gurgling noises at the well casing, etc.) immediately notify the Bainbridge Fire Department at (440) 543-9873 and the DMRM at (330) 896-0616. The DMRM will immediately require OVE to disconnect your water well and re- install a storage tank as temporary water supply.

 

An easement exists generally from the centerline of the road or street 30’ in either direction. This is the road right-of-way. The township maintains the infrastructure within this easement which includes the road surface, ditching, culvert pipes and/or drainage structures. Guidance regarding work in the right-of-way can be found in the Geauga County Highway Use Manual tab located in this website.
Roadside ditches are designed to allow for drainage of water from both the road surface and the road base. Ineffective drainage can cause issues which result in premature pavement failure. Residents are encouraged to refrain from placing items such as large stones, fences, trees, and/or other obstructions in the ditches preventing the natural flow of water. Over time sedimentation can impact the effectiveness of these ditches requiring maintenance. Resident’s can contact the township for assistance and their concerns will be addressed in the order they are received and then prioritized based on the severity of the issue and its impact on associated infrastructure.
A primary responsibility of the Department is the maintenance of roadways and associated infrastructure.
Full depth repair:  Full depth repair work is performed in selected areas where deterioration is occurring in an isolated stretch of pavement.  It consists of excavating out the compromised layers of asphalt and inferior road base and replacing with newly compacted materials
Berming:  The berm or the shoulder is the area adjacent to the roadway which can be eroded by water exiting the roadway. If not addressed in a timely manner this condition may cause the asphalt to fracture at the roads edge leading to premature road failure. The township will fill and re-grade problem areas as they occur.
Cross pipes:  Cross pipes are utilized to convey storm water from one side of a road to the other. The township will inspect and clean these pipes as necessary and replace them when they have structurally deteriorated. This may include partial or full road closures. In these cases notices will be provided and signs will be posted allowing to the public to make alternative travel plans.
Drive pipes:  Drive pipes are the pipes running under the driveway which allow for conveyance of water from the upstream ditch. Upon request the township will inspect the driveway culvert pipe and replace up to 30 feet of existing pipe when deemed necessary. (No new pipes due to construction will be installed by the township).
The Service Department is responsible for insuring the roads remain un-obstructed and passable for safety forces and the motoring public. Strong storms can cause conditions resulting in flooding and down trees blocking the roadways. Service crews will respond quickly in these situations to re-establish safe travel as quickly as possible. Residents are urged to stay clear of downed wires and report these conditions to both the Township Fire Department Non-emergency # 440-543-9873, FirstEnergy contact number for hazardous situations 1-888-544-4877.
Bainbridge Township is well equipped and trained to provide effective service when responding to the difficult winter conditions experienced in Northeast Ohio Snow Belt. Staff are assigned to specific routes and are on 24 hour 7 days/week call to insure that roads remain passable and as safe as the elements will allow for. We utilize different techniques and materials in accomplishing this task based on the specific conditions being experienced. Historically that has included rock salt and cinders and we have adequate storage facilities for both. Recently we have added liquids to our arsenal which provides the driver with improved options in making treatment decisions. Two of these new methods include:
Pre-treating:  The township has equipped one of our trucks with a 1,000 gallon tank and spray bar utilized in applying a brine solution to the roadways in advance of an incoming snow event. This material will dry on the road and be available to treat the winter weather conditions once they begin. This provides us time in getting personnel and equipment on the road and helps in minimizing hard pack and icing conditions.
Pre-wetting:  Most of our fleet is now equipped with wetting capabilities which includes on-board storage tanks and metered spray systems used to pre-wet the salt with brine or a brine/sugar beet solution at the salt spinner just prior to applying to the road surface. This solution immediately activates the salt resulting in improved reaction time. In addition pre wetting of the salt decreases “bounce and scatter” keeping more of the salt on the targeted roadway and out of the roadside ditches. The sugar beet juice contains chemical properties which allow salt to remain effective at much lower temperatures than normal and is typically used when the temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The township is also responsible for snow removal at all of our Public buildings and the Cemetery.
What projects require a zoning certificate?
Any project that results in additional lot coverage requires a zoning certificate including but not limited to sheds, driveway expansions, fences and patios and decks – covered and uncovered. Additionally interior alterations that result in construction changes require a zoning certificate. Examples of projects that do not require a zoning certificate include window and roof replacements that do not change the size or height of the structure or cosmetic projects such as painting, replacement of flooring, and electrical and plumbing work. Note that even if a zoning certificate is not required from the township, there still may be a county requirement for a building permit (440-279-1780). Please call if there is any question regarding the need for a zoning certificate.
Do new businesses need a zoning certificate?
Businesses moving into or relocating within Bainbridge Township need to apply for a commercial use zoning certificate. It is in the permitting process that it is determined that the proposed use is permitted at a given location and the new business is registered with the township with contact information and of the business owner.
Do I need a zoning certificate to move or put up a sign?
Ground, wall, marquee and window signs require zoning certificates. When an old sign is moved to a new location on the property or structure a zoning certificate is required. Changing the text of a changeable copy sign does not require a zoning certificate.
Are temporary signs permitted?
Temporary signs are permitted with a zoning certificate under very specific circumstances in the residential zoning districts. Contact the zoning department regarding temporary signs.
Are signs permitted in the road right of way or on utility poles?
Signs are not permitted on in the road right of way or on utility poles.
Do zoning certificates require a fee?
Yes – see the fee schedule.
May I run a business from my home?
Some businesses are permitted in residential homes under very specific and limited circumstances. A home business requires a Home Occupation zoning certificate. Anyone needing further information on the permitting process may contact the zoning department at Bainbridge Town Hall (440-543-9871).
Where can I get a zoning certificate application?
The applications for zoning certificates are available at Bainbridge Town Hall located at 17826 Chillicothe Road behind the Fire Department. Applications are also available at the Bainbridge Township website under zoning forms and fees.
Do I need to provide all of the information requested on the application? What documentation is needed?
All information on the application needs to be provided to be considered a complete application.
There needs to be an authorization paper trail to demonstrate that the applicant has standing to submit the application.
In most cases the property deed is the best record to use since the deed documents both the legal description and the property owner.
In the case where the applicant is a third party such as a contractor, the property owner needs to supply along with the deed, a signed document giving the third party authorization to submit the zoning application.
Projects with more than 300 sq’ of soil disturbance require a sediment control plan approved by Geauga Soil and Water (440-834-1122).
The zoning map is on the Bainbridge Township website for use in determining the property’s zoning district.
The property’s parcel number may be obtained at the Geauga County Auditor’s website – GeaugaRealink.co.geauga.oh.us.
Building plans and a site plan with setback dimensions are required for construction projects and ground signs.
How do I contact the zoning inspector?
Karen Endres, the Bainbridge Township Zoning Inspector, may be contacted at the Bainbridge Town Hall at 440-543-9871 or by e-mail at kendres@bainbridgetwp.com.