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Kingwood Council member expresses concern over herbicide use

KINGWOOD — A discussion about the possible use of herbicides at Ashpole was tabled until council members and members of the Kingwood Water Board can review information about the products.

Shawn Sisler, a transmission forestry specialist at First Energy, said First Energy does low volume maintenance every four years along a right-of-way. He said the herbicides Arsenal and Habitat will only be used at buffer areas.

Water Board President Robert DiRiggi said he has concerns about using any chemicals in the area.

“We just did an extensive study at Ashpole,” he said. “We are looking at putting in a 7 million-gallon reservoir up there. It’s a pristine water source. I’d be concerned about any chemicals being used in the area.”

Sisler said once sprayed, neither Arsenal nor Habitat moves. He said the herbicides have been used for almost 35 years and are safe.

“You would know if it moved,” he said. “It takes out deciduous trees. We know this is a safe product.”

But DiRiggi pushed back.

“We’re marketing Ashpole as a pristine water source. This contradicts that. I’ve discussed it with engineers and they have concerns about this,” DiRiggi said. “Kingwood is the largest water producer in Preston County, serving about a third of the county’s water customers. I’m here with a high degree of concern. I believe we have the large interest of the people of Preston County at stake.”

Councilman Bill Robertson said there are four-wheelers going in and out of the area that could drive through the sprayed area and transfer it into the water.

In other business, council heard from Mike Neel, who said he had reasonable expectations to be treated with respect when he’s addressing council. Neel said he was interrupted numerous times while speaking during a previous council meeting.

Guillot said an affidavit of notice given to council by Neel was turned over to the city’s attorney.

No further action was taken.

Council went into executive session to discuss personnel.

The next meeting of the Kingwood City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. July 25.