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 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)


Bryan Times, Sept. 11, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Plan to drill test well submitted)  Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) has taken steps toward drilling test wells into the Michindoh aquifer.

The hydrologist working for AOP President Ed Kidston — Todd Feenstra, President of Indiana-based Tritium, Inc. — has filed a proposed work plan for an initial hydrological investigation of up to five properties “for the purpose of the development of one or more wellfields in the vicinity of Fayette, Ohio, to supply drinking water to multiple communities currently on the Toledo surface water system,” according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency documents obtained Monday by The Bryan Times.

Reader: view the document here:

Feenstra filed the “Work Plan for Fulton County Wellfield Development” with the Ohio EPA on Aug. 29.  Feenstra requested review of the work plan and requested that the EPA schedule a site visit to the properties, located in Fulton County.

In response, on Aug. 31, the Ohio EPA emailed a Well Site Application to Kidston/Artesian of Pioneer and requested Kidston complete the application.  Kidston replied on Sept. 5 that AOP does not have a contract to develop or construct production wells at this time.  He said AOP’s only contracted responsibility is to confirm the data of specific sites, so AOP cannot submit a well site application at this time.

On Friday, the Ohio EPA sent a letter in response, stating the EPA cannot provide well siting approval without the required information.

“The work outlined in the plan does not require Ohio EPA approval to proceed; however, if they later decide to convert a test well to a production well that would require formal well siting approval.  Ohio EPA would be under no obligation to approve the installed wells if they are not properly sited,” Dina Pierce, EPA spokesperson, explained Monday.

Reader: the letter is available at:

In the Aug. 29 letter to Taylor Browning, an Environmental Specialists II with the EPA’s Bowling Green office, Feenstra’s “Work Plan for Fulton County Wellfield Development” is broken down into three phases that include exploratory drilling, well construction and aquifer testing for each of the potential wellfields.

Phase I is described as drilling and construction of a test well to verify the lithology at the site, and includes detailed descriptions of the techniques and equipment used.

Phase II “will commence if the site is determined to likely support a high-capacity wellfield,” Feenstra’s letter states.  At that point, a second monitoring well and larg-diameter test production well will be installed.

“The large diameter well will be sited to allow for a sanitary isolation radius of at least 300 feet as required for a public water supply well.  The wellfield layout (includes) two monitoring wells located at a right angle to each other relative to the test production well,” Feenstra states.

In Phase III, two types of pumping tests will be performed utilizing the test production well as the pumping center and the two monitoring wells as observation wells.  A test will verify the well efficiency and project the maximum capacity of the test production well.

Feenstra said the three wells will be measured during both a stepped-rate test and a 72-hour test using pressure transducers equipped with data loggers.  He said at the conclusion of testing he expects to produce and provide a written analysis that will detail the local and regional hydrogeology, new wells construction and well logs, pumping test data and include all test data, GIS files and well logs.

Kidston did note in his Sept. 5 message to the Ohio EPA that AOP and Tritium cannot complete the well site application because AOP and Tritium “have only been contracted to do a study of specific sites of the aquifer.  We have no contract to develop and construct production wells and therefore at this time have no intention of doing so.  “I’m not sure how we could legally apply for an event we have not been contracted to pursue and is not privy to much of the information required on the well application, beginning with ‘who is the owner,'” Kidston said.

“Our goal and only contracted responsibility at this point is to confirm data of specific sites.  Our findings will ultimately determine whether additional contracts will materialize for AOP or some other contracted firm, or whether the project will be abandoned in part or in its entirety.  At this point, we simply want to proceed as expeditiously as possible to determine for all involved the viability of a ‘possible’ future project,” Kidston said.

Property records on the Fulton County auditor’s website show Kidston, under Kidston Consultants Ltd., purchased 54.94 acres of farmland — parcel 09-019432-00.000 — on County Road J, just west of Ohio 66, in Franklin Township, near Archbold.  The purchase is recorded on Dec. 22, 2017, with a purchase price listed at $330,000 from Bontrager-Singer Kay & Leichty, Betty J. Co.

Reader: On Oct. 3, an agreement was signed to proceed with test wells.  See  Bryan Times Oct. 6, 2018  What Toledo suburbs are saying    From that article the following information is excerpted about the test wells:

The agreement signed Wednesday is a three-phase agreement, with the first phase to “drill, screen and develop five-inch observation wells … in four to six locations; test pump an existing 12-inch well at a high rate; monitor the effects of the test pumping and take readings as a preliminary report,” according to the agreement.  Phase I is “a very preliminary stage to see if we can go to the next step,”

He declined to confirm if the testing will be done on property he purchased at the end of last year on Fulton County Road J, just west of Ohio 66, in Franklin Township, near Archbold, but did say test well location “is in western Fulton County.”

After the Phase I testing, “my hydrologist will give the results to their hydrologist and their hydrologist will compare the results from our testing … we’ll even give it to the EPA,” Kidston said.

“I will say this, this (Phase I) step tells us a lot. It’ll tell us one of two things: one, whether we’re barking up the wrong tree and it’s not going to work, or two, it’s promising enough to go to the next step,” Kidston said.

Kidston said he expects Phase I to take about three months.

Henry County water and Sewer District attorney Rex Huffman said Wednesday the idea is to test the aquifer “to see whether this Michindoh Aquifer is a viable water supply for some or all of these partners. To do that, we first need to determine the capacity of that aquifer to make sure there’s an adequate supply there and the aquifer can withstand the demand of some or all of these customers.”
The initial test or observation wells do not require EPA approval. But the agreement states that if the initial tests prove promising, AOP will move into Phase II, which begins with filing a well site application for a new public water system with the Ohio EPA.


Bryan Times, Nov. 13, 2018 (report by Jen Lazenby, Aquifer well testing by Artesian of Pioneer underway in Fulton County)  Well testing in the Michindoh Aquifer in Fulton County is underway to see if the aquifer is a viable source of drinking water for a consortium of seven entities.

In October, the Henry County Regional Water and Sewer District Board of Trustees approved an agreement with Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) to drill and test wells on behalf of the consortium.  The district, villages of Liberty Center and Whitehouse, cities of Maumee, Sylvania and Perrysburg and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District are partnering for the project to see if that area could support a ground water plant which would supply drinking water to those communities.

During last Wednesday’s Henry County water and sewer board’s meeting, Tom Borck of Poggemeyer Design Group reported drilling was done in three locations north and west of Fayette.

“The first well they drilled went through both aquifers, everything was wonderful,” Borck said, adding there’s a shallower aquifer and a deeper one.  “The second one they drilled hoping to find both aquifers again.  There was no lower aquifer there.  They moved to the third location, drilled another well and that one didn’t have any lower aquifer location at that location.

“They went back to the first spot and drilled another well into the shallow aquifer in the same general vicinity,” he said.

Borck said a 72-hour pump testing was currently being done out of the upper aquifer.

“At this point, it’s doubtful the lower aquifer is sufficient to sustain the group because it doesn’t extend as far north and east as we hoped it did,” he said.

Henry County Planning Director Nick Rettig said the pump testing should conclude today.

“The first day, they saw very little drawdown in any of the observation wells, so it’s a solid aquifer, it appears right now,” Borck said, adding the wells that have been drilled and nearby residential wells are being monitored during the testing.  “We’re continuing to see what we find.”

Board Chairman Tim Phillips questioned whether any quality test results had been returned, with Borck stating nothing is back yet, but the quality is not a large concern.

“I don’t think there’s much concern with water quality because there’s so many existing wells in that upper aquifer that there’s a pretty good handle on the quality of the aquifer,” he said.  “We’re mainly interested in quantity right now.”

Rettig said AOP owner Ed Kidston wants to meet with representatives of the seven entities, as well as Eagon & Associates, which is the consortium’s hydrogeologist, toward the end of November to review the progress.

Prior to the agreement for testing in this location, the water and sewer district and Liberty Center drilled a test well in northeast Washington Township in Henry County to see if that was a viable source of water, but that test was placed on hold when this plan became more viable as discussions to form a water authority with the City of Toledo and nearby communities stalled and those entities began exploring other options.

The water and sewer district and Liberty Center currently purchase water from the City of Napoleon, but issues over the cost of water led to the search for the other potential sources.  On Wednesday, Rettig said the district is continuing to talk to city officials and has been reviewing a recent rate study the city conducted.