Todd Feenstra

Bryan Times Aug. 28, 2018 (report by Lucas Bechtol, Kidston makes a case; the first of a two-part series covering Ed Kidston’s presentation and a question-and-answer session to the Montpelier Village Council) (Reader: The first two paragraphs of this report are omitted) Kidston said he was reminded of a saying: “You can’t be an expert unless you’re at least 30 miles from home. Tonight I brought a highly qualified and highly respected expert from Elkhart, Indiana,” he said. “Todd Feenstra knows our aquifer as good or better than any single expert. As owner of Tritium, Inc., he was hired by Bryan, Ohio, several years ago when they studied the aquifer in 2007 for sole-source designation”

Kidston said Feenstra would be the one consulting with AOP throughout the project and will be presenting the facts to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies.

One of the topics Feenstra wanted to address was what was going on with the aquifer. “The USGS (United States Geological Survey) maintains three permanent monitoring wells around the City of Bryan with records going back 30-40 years,” he said, adding long-term trends can be easily found on the government agency’s website.

USGS also maintains three wells in LaGrange, Elkhart and Noble counties in Indiana with 30 years of daily water level measurements. Three wells are located in Hillsdale County, Michigan, and another is located in Lenawee County, Michigan, though those don’t have as extensive data as those in Ohio and Indiana. There are also stream gauges, including one near Stryker.

All of this data is indicating, showing there is no aquifer depletion occurring,” Feenstra said. “There is also no depletion of stream flow occurring. As a matter of fact, even though it is cyclical and it may be up or down a few feet, we are right now at a 10-year-plus high in groundwater levels and stream discharge. So, there is a long-term rising trend.”

In order to go through with the AOP project, Feenstra said testing must be done and meet various requirements set by the Ohio administrative code, including mapping.

Testing will include 72 hours of continuous pumping with observations coming from three days before pumping to set conditions and three days after to observe recovery.

“It’s important to see full recharge happen before pumping resumes,” Feenstra said. “The whole goal is to make sure there is a sustainable well field that does not deplete the water of the aquifer system.”

All of the data will need to be written up with predictions made for drought conditions, he said, meaning the well will need to be able to run for 100 days of pumping with no recharge.

“If we get to that stage and a well field goes in, then a source water protection plan must be created,” Feenstra added. All of the work will be reviewed by his peers at the Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources, he added. Site-specific testing will be done where the well will go because every production well is unique.

“The goal is to determine if this new withdrawal can be sustained by the aquifer system without causing harm to the environment or to other users,” Feenstra said. “This is a well-established plan that has been implemented nationwide, specifically in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.”

(Reader: At this point Kidston refers to statements made by Jack Wittman, PhD from his presentation in Angola. See Ed Kidston says, Bryan Times, Aug. 28, for the analysis)