A Wellston woman recently took to the podium during the public-comments portion of a Wellston City Council meeting to issue a formal complaint involving heavy amounts of dust at her home, which she says is originating from the nearby Jackson County Fairgrounds.

Sue Angel resides at 51 Meadow Run Rd. Her home is situated to the west of the Jackson County Fairgrounds, and more specifically to this issue, the site’s horse racing track. Overall, Angel’s complaint, which she addressed during the May 5 Council meeting, has to do with the high volume of dust she says is coming from the track. Further, she says the dust comes as a result of the track not being watered before use.

“My parents lived in the house before I did, and people always used to water the track, take the rake around it, then take the horses around,” she explained. “That kept the dust down. They’re not putting water on the track anymore. They do for the [Jackson County] Fair and at other occasions. It is ridiculous. I can’t even open my windows to have fresh air come in when it’s nice, and I have breathing problems, so I can’t sit outside.”

Angel said the dust was so bad one day that she had to use her windshield wipers to see to drive despite having washed the car that same morning. A separate instance, she says, left her briefly thinking her home was on fire due to the amount of airborne dust.

The May 5 discussion with Wellston Council was not Angel’s first stop. She stated she had spoken with Jackson County Fair Board President Mike Farley in 2021 about the issue, though she says that did not go well. Angel said the encounter resulted in an argument, and she described Farley as being “very rude.” She also said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been brought into the mix.

“I don’t understand because there’s a water truck there,” she said, adding that Farley had told her he was fixing the truck, though she claims to have seen no one performing such work. “Something has to be done.”

Wellston Code Enforcement Director and Jackson County Fair Board member, Ryan Pelletier, added to the discussion.

“Ms. Angel filed a complaint with the Code Enforcement office, like she should have,” he explained. “I did address it with the Fair Board, even though I’m on the Fair Board, so we’ve got kind of an issue there.”

Pelletier went on to confirm that he had spoken with the Ohio EPA’s Air Pollution Division and was informed that the Fair Board is supposed to log each time the horse racing track is watered. He also told Angel that the Fair Board had recently purchased a new water truck and apologized for the fact that she had not been given this information sooner.

“This new water truck is designed so that they don’t have to drive it, they can pull it and water the track,” Pelletier stated. “My hope is that this will fix the problem.”

Pelletier also noted that the Fairgrounds are owned by the county and managed by the Fair Board. He told Angel that another option for recourse, should this new water truck not remedy the problem, is to speak with the Jackson County Commissioners.