BATH TOWNSHIP — Truckers traveling along Herr Road in Bath Township will now have to comply with the “No Engine Brake” road signs recently posted along the roadway by the township road department.
The Bath Township Board of Trustees approved the measure during the April 4 township meeting. Township Trustee Tom Pitstick pointed out that no downgrades exist along the township road that are steep enough to require the use of compression-release engine brakes by diesel truck drivers.
According to Pitstick, Michael Oberfield, chief operating officer at Renergy Inc., approach him about posting the signs at each end of Herr Road at the company’s expense. Renergy Inc. is the parent company of the Dovetail Energy LLC. Anaerobic Digestion Facility, located at 1146 Herr Road. Pitstick noted that the company is making a proactive effort to reduce any excess noise around the biosolids digester facility. Presently, semi-trucks transport organic waste from wastewater treatment plants in Greene and Butler counties, as well as Fairborn, Xenia and Yellow Springs, to the anaerobic digestion facility on a regular basis.
The alternate braking system, which Pitstick said comes equipped on most semi-trucks, uses diesel engine compression to slow the large vehicle and to take the pressure off the regular friction brakes as the driver navigates steep downgrades. Although it helps drivers maintain better control of their rigs, engaging the engine brake produces a loud noise that some township residents say is similar to the firing of a gun and rattles windows in their homes.
“The engine-brake systems can be switched on or off by truck drivers, but some drivers just leave them on at times,” Pitstick said. “Renergy understands how big of a problem this can be for residents and has made an effort to address it.”
Township resident Kassie Lester said engine braking has been more disruptive for residents who live on the western end of Herr Road. However, she noted that township residents are dealing with several issues that have arisen from the increased volume of semi-truck traffic transporting the waste over the narrow country roads to the anaerobic digestion facility.
“The trucks are also tearing up the roads and spilling sloshy loads onto the roadway,” said Lester.
Township officials are hoping that truck drivers will demonstrate common courtesy when traveling through the populated area and observe the posted signs.
The Bath Township Board of Trustees meet in regular session 7 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month, as well as the fifth Wednesdays, 1006 Yellow Springs–Fairfield Road.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.