Kidston’s Test Wells

Bryan Times June 30, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Aquifer to be tested):  Kidston has contracted with hydrologist Dan Whalen, of Williams and Works, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to monitor the test well.  A test well is surrounded by a number of other smaller wells, all pumping continuously over a 72-hours period.  The results are then computed and extrapolated, including data on how fast the aquifer is drained compared to how quickly it gets replenished by rainwater.

The data will give Kidston information to make a decision “based on science” on whether to go forward or not.

“The first goal is to see if there’s enough water there and can we extract it without affecting anyone else there.  Once we determine that, then we’ll get down into more intense engineering,” he said.

“If we do this test well and we determine there is adverse effects, then we won’t do the deal, that’s the bottom line,” he said.

“I expect we’ll have a report in three to four weeks.  If we can get started (on the test well) in July, we’ll know by mid-September,” he said.

To drill the test well, Kidston has contracted with Watson Well Drilling Inc., of Bryan, a 60-year-old family business that has drilled hundreds of wells locally, according to Jim Watson from the company.

Watson stressed that a test well “can give you somewhat of an idea, but it’s not the final scientifics.  You have to take the next step,” which he said includes extrapolating renewal rates and comparing different results at different locations.

Watson said he understands the issue is emotional and potentially controversial.  “We’re members of the community.  It’s important that good decisions are made and that those decisions are based on science.  That’s why we’re involved.  We think it’s important to have our input.

Kidston said he’s now in the process of negotiating with a number of local landowners in Williams and Fulton Counties in Ohio and Hillsdale and Lenawee counties in Michigan.  He declined to disclose names or exact locations because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

He anticipates a typical arrangement he’s used in the past, which includes installing a meter to register volume and paying the landowner a percentage for every 1,000 gallons pumped out of the aquifer.

Bryan Times July 6, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Aquifer plan meets resistance):  Julie Weatherington-Rice in an e-mail cautioned that test wells can provide limited information about the long-term sustainability of an aquifer.  “One well will tell you how much you can pump (from) one well.  If you put in monitoring wells and you do a pumping test (municipal well tests are typically a week to a month long), that should tell you the pumping cone of depression (volume of usage) for that well and the safe sustainable yield.  (It) doesn’t tell you about the rest of the aquifer, but it does give you an idea of how far apart you want to space your wells,” she said.

Bryan Times July 21, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Kidston says his aquifer drill plan…):  Kidston initially said he would drill several test wells into the aquifer to demonstrate that there is a virtually unlimited amount of water within the Michindoh, and that the amount he proposes removing per day is easily replenished.

But Friday Kidston revealed that he is now planning to use three currently operating test wells, while drilling three smaller “observation” wells.  “We found three wells we can use for testing purposes, so we’re not even going to drill into the ground, other than two or three observation wells,” Kidston said.  He declined to say where the three testing wells are located except that one of the currently operating testing wells is within Williams County, while two are not.

He said the testing wells measure 12-18 inches in diameter, and at least one or two of them have been pumping about 1,200 gallons a minute for the past 15 years.  The residential wells measure about 5 inches in diameter.  He didn’t say when the residential well would be drilled and the results of his testing would be completed and available by Thanksgiving.

Once Kidston’s testing is completed, he said, the results will be reviewed by a hydrologist he is hiring for the project, who he identified as Dan Whalen, of Williams and Works, of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Once Kidston completes his well testing, the EPA also will review the results.  Kidston said approval or disapproval is based on three factors:  “Number one, that we will not remove more water from the aquifer than can be recharged in our particular area …We can’t pull more water out than is replenished.  Two, we have to prove we’re not going to interfere with any neighboring well; And three, we have to prove that it is sustainable.

“If we prove those three things, it’s not going to affect a single soul out in the county.  If we can’t prove those three things, the project can’t go forward.  It’s as simple as that,” Kidston said.

Bryan Times, Aug. 7, 2018 (report by Jen Lazenby, Discussion of test wells continues) Henry County Regional Water and Sewer Board was updated.  Entities committed to the testing include Henry County District, Liberty Center, Sylvania, Maumee, Perrysburg, Whitehouse and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District based in Bowling Green.  Each entity would contribute no more than $25,000 toward the drilling portion of the project.

The anticipated cost of the drilling has decreased since Kidston now has access to existing wells so he won’t have to drill as many as originally planned.

A meeting is scheduled for Aug. 10 in Fulton County where representatives of each interested entity will further discuss the project.  The meeting will not be open to the public as none of the governmental entities will have enough members for a quorum, which would require the meeting be public.

Test wells were drilled on Henry County Road 2 between roads V and W in the township when a new plant was being considered only for the district and Liberty Center.

The board was in agreement it would be willing to lead the project if that’s the consensus of the entities involved.

Bryan Times, Aug. 11, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Michindoh plan discussed)  About two dozen representatives of entities and communities interested in purchasing water from the Michindoh Aquifer met in a closed-door, private meeting Friday.

Kidston was present at the meeting.  He said he intends to drill test wells or use existing wells within the aquifer to back up his claim that sufficient reserves exist so that current users will not be harmed by his plan.

Drillers must file well logs with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ Division of Geological Surveys and register the withdrawal with the ODNR, spokesperson Mike Hallfrisch said Friday.  He said as of Wednesday, no one associated with AOP has registered any test wells within the Michindoh with ODNR.

Bryan Times, Aug. 22, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Kidston, his hydrologist to make presentation to Montpelier Council)  No one associated with AOP has applied for permits or registered any test wells within the Michindoh with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, according to Mike Hallfrisch, water inventory and planning project manager for the ODNR’s Division of Geological Surveys.

(Reader see “What Science says” Bryan Times Aug. 28 for information from Todd Feenstra on test wells)