The OEPA Hearing

If the OEPA were truly interested in protecting our environment, would they be limiting their process to observing the activity at one well for 72 hours?  (They held an on-site visit, maybe they learned a lot by just looking at the surrounding area.)

Don Allison’s opinion column in the March 9 Bryan Times revealed the evidence which history provides.  Quoting from a 1905 book by Thomas Mikesell titled “The County of Fulton,” the report was that “Every new fountain well diminishes the flow of those near it, and as the number of wells in a locality increases, the head is lowered. It is said by older citizens that the fountain head at Bryan has fallen several feet in their recollection, and that many wells, which originally flowed, now have to be furnished with pumps.”

The evidence is in front of our faces.  Years of use by all of us has affected the aquifer below us.  Why would anyone want to ship out 14 million gallons a day to places located miles away with abundant water supplies closer to them?  (Oh, I forgot!  There’s money to be made.)

So the OEPA is going to explain the regulatory process to us.  Let’s hear them explain what happened to all the fountains?

EPA conditioned draft well site approval

The Timeline entry of Feb. 9, 2019 titled “Michindoh: AOP well site gets preliminary  approval” had a link to the EPA letter.  I could not get that link to work until today when I was in contact with someone from the OEPA.  There is a lot of detail in that letter, most of which is unintelligible to the lay person.  I’m hoping well drillers in the community will give it some attention.

The OEPA staff person I spoke with stressed that this is a “test” well which normally does not get much attention from them.  They are giving it special attention because it is so unusual, not like regular applications for public water system wells.  An additional point was made that this is only in the very preliminary stages.

Governor’s Letters

There were 665 letters collected.  Lyle and Angie Brigle counted and sorted them as follows:  192 from Bryan, 103 from Pioneer, 71 from both Montpelier and Defiance, 35 from Edon, 34 from Archbold, 33 from Edgerton, 18 from Stryker.  Twenty-eight other communities were also represented with numbers ranging from 1 to 9.

It is interesting to note that three phone calls to our Governor’s office, two of which were only voicemail messages not returned, resulted in our having to mail the letters rather than hand-deliver them as originally intended.  Apparently our “security-minded” elected officials must keep their distance from constituents.

Even the phone call from The Bryan Times asking for clarification did not get a response by the time of publication.

As reported in The Bryan Times Dec. 8 article, the letter made several key points:

The people signing them were “adamantly opposed to the plan by Artesian of Pioneer to sell water from the Michindoh Aquifer to communities in the greater Toledo area.”

The “existing Ohio regulatory process through the Ohio EPA and ODNR does not consider the impact of continuous water withdrawals upon the sustainability of the aquifer.”

“The current lack of scientific certainty should not be the excuse for postponing measures to protect the aquifer.”

“Privatization of our water benefits one company and endangers hundreds of thousands of residents and could lead to more large water withdrawal projects from the Michindoh Aquifer.”

“Does Michindoh aquifer even exist?”

Those were the words included in a statement by Ed Kidston, Mayor of Pioneer, OH, and CEO of Artesian of Pioneer during the November 12 council meeting.  First, he asked if anyone could verify that a contract had been signed indicating something was happening with the Michindoh aquifer.  Then he asked, “Does the Michindoh aquifer even exist?”  The third question was whether anyone could tell him whether a well drilled 20 miles away would harm the citizens of Pioneer.  For a complete report on the council meeting, see The Toledo Blade.

It might be a good idea for Mr. Kidston to attend the presentation by Dr. Jeremy Rentz on Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30 – 8:30  in the Pioneer Community Center.  His talk is titled “Effects of large water withdrawals on the Michindoh aquifer.”  Dr. Rentz is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Trine University.  I’m sure he would be able to answer the question whether the Michindoh aquifer even exists.

We are left to wonder why anyone who has repeatedly stated his intention to sell Michindoh Aquifer water to communities to the east would now be questioning its very existence!