Letters to the Editor – Great Ideas!

Bryan Times, Sept. 10, 2018 (Paul Merillat, Aquifer challenge for Mr. Kidston, AOP) I have been reading what Mr. Kidston says about the ability to sustain a 15 percent to 18 percent on the draw on the aquifer.  He stated that it will be around 100 years or a 1,000 years from now.  He says he will drill test wells to determine the output and sustainability and will abort if not sustainable.  He is 99 percent sure it is capable.

I say testing a new well is an unfair test.  Here is why:  Let’s say I am late for work and drive my old 1960 truck 100 mph the 20 miles to work.  I say, “Boy, this old truck is really a good truck!”  Now I say to you, drive that old truck wide open to and from work for a year and see what happens to that old truck!

Sure the aquifer will show it can sustain the increased draw when it is full now, but you have to draw on it for a long period of time to see just how wide the depression cone is.  This may affect just Williams County.

The way I see it, the only people with flesh in the game are the users of the aquifer, with Mr. Kidston and the leased well providers making the money!

My challenge to Mr. Kidston, Artesian of Pioneer and the leased well owners is to put some flesh in the game also by signing a liability contract stating that if this project causes any harm to any wells and any users of the aquifer, that they pay, and any and all costs be made whole.  Even if they have to go all the way to Lake Erie to get us the water back that they pumped out.

Mr. Kidston, you say that pumping water to the different towns was, “the right thing to do.”

Now, I say sign a contract with the community that runs a bigger risk than you, that is “The right thing to do.”

I hope that our commissioners and others affected by this project demand this.

Besides, my understanding is that if the taking of water results in harm to your neighbors, it is illegal.

Mr. Kidston, maybe by signing a contract, it might sway some voters, knowing you have a commitment to the community.

Mr. Kidston and AOP, will you accept my challenge?

Bryan Times, Sept. 12, 2018 (James E. Hitchcock, Limit Michindoh aquifer pumping)  My Bachelor of Science is in Geology.  While in the Marine Corps a friend was from Oklahoma told me his family started “pinwheel” irrigation after World War II.  They got water at 300 feet.  By 1985, they had to drill to 3,000 feet to get water making the cost of drilling and pumping in the Ogallala aquifer uneconomical for irrigation.  Two years ago we were in Colorado and several articles in western newspapers were about past “controls” on use of groundwater in the Ogallala aquifer.  After a couple wet years the farmers wanted to pump out the “extra” water, but the ecologists wanted to restrict pumping of groundwater even more to let the aquifer refill.

“Climate change” people are concerned the world’s ocean water levels have risen more than the “ice melt” from polar ice would support.  Several researchers suspect that a large part of the oceans “additional” rise is due to the vast amount of groundwater that has been pumped out of groundwater aquifers around the world.

There is a worldwide debate going on about the effects of extensive depletion of groundwater.  No one knows the long-term ecological effects of excessive groundwater pumping.  No one knows how long it will take to replenish the groundwater that has been pumped out in the last 30 years.  Geology departments of the state universities should study the Michindoh aquifer.  No more ground water should be pumped than is replenished each year.

I wonder why Toledo takes its water out of Lake Erie rather than out of the Maumee River?  No one seems to be looking at the real culprit in the Lake Erie phosphorus situation.  Seed companies’ primary market for farm seeds is the Mississippi drainage basin where the “bad guy” is nitrogen.  High nitrogen levels are causing a dead space in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Maumee River drainage basin is so small by comparison that the seed companies have little to no interest in developing “low phosphorus” seeds.  Last year I received material from the Great Lakes Water Conference about ways to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie; at the same time I received material from the seed companies saying the new generation of “high yield” seeds required more phosphorus and farmers should increase their application of it.

The Toledo area municipalities should consider suing the seed companies or putting pressure on Ohio State University, Indiana University and Michigan State agriculture departments to research the issue and develop “low phosphorus” seeds, and look into building a pipeline to the Atlantic Ocean with a desalination plant in Williams County.

In the meantime, we need to limit pumping so the levels of groundwater in the Michindoh aquifer do not decline.