What communities are saying

Bryan Times July 13, 2018 (report by Larry Zuvers, West Unity voices opposition …):  West Unity Council Thursday night passed a resolution opposing the diversion of water from the Michindoh Aquifer to communities outside the aquifer.  The resolution further requests a public hearing by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources and/or Ohio Environmental Protection Agency if any permit is requested to pump and divert water from the aquifer, which lies beneath nine counties in three states, including virtually all of Williams County.


BRYAN TIMES JULY 14, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, Alliance seeks support …): At a meeting of Williams County Commissioners:  While commissioners said they were open to more information and more discussion about the project, they told the audience that there wasn’t much that the local government could do to block such a plan.  “At the end of the day, we still don’t have any authority over it,”  said Terry Rummel.

Rummel continued:  “This is a business transaction, and it’s going to be a legal thing.  No matter what it all comes down to, it’s going to be whether the EPA regulates and says yes you can or no you can’t … or if there’s an injunction that stops this as far as I can see.”


Bryan Times, July 14, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, City readies resolution …):  City leadership in Bryan may go on record against a proposal to draw water from the Michindoh Aquifer to supply communities east of Williams County and as far away as Maumee.  Following a hearing of public concerns, the special joint meeting of Bryan City Council and the Bryan Board of Public Affairs will consider a resolution “recognizing and promoting the importance of the groundwater aquifer and opposition to drilling for, or private distribution of, the groundwater from the Michindoh Glacial Outwash Aquifer to locations outside the designated aquifer.”

The prepared resolution states “the proposed withdrawal will have a significant detrimental effect on the quantity, and potential quality, of water resurces for those currently served by the Michindoh Glacial Outwash Aquifer.

If approved by both boards, the resolution will be forwarded to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources and/or the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as a formal request that “should an application for a permit to allow diversion of water from the Michindoh Glacial Outwash Aquifer be requested, public hearings would be held before any such permit be approved.”


Bryan Times, July 17, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, Commissioners on the record …): Williams County Commissioners on Monday morning went on record against a proposal to tap into the Michindoh aquifer to meet the needs of water customers outside of the county.  Commissioners Lews Hilkert and Commission President Brian Davis voted to approve a resolution opposing drilling into the aquifer for water sales outside of Williams County.  Commission Vice President Terry Rummel abstained from the vote.

“Williams County is solely dependent on this water source as there is no financially viable backup.  Every day our city, villages, agricultural operations, county residents, business and industry depend on a clean, consistent, daily supply.  Should the levels drop, if contamination occurs, or outsourced volumes increase, it would have a devastating impact on us all.  Those who physically reside in the aquifer (area) should be the only consumers of the water and it should not be exported for financial gain.

Water is a precious resource, and as time goes on it will exponentially increase in value.  We are reminded of an old saying, “Just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.  We do not support nor endorse this venture.”


Bryan Times, July 17, 2018 (report by Lucas Bechtol, Edon denounces aquifer drilling):  The Edon Village Council swiftly and unanimously voted to oppose a plan that involves tapping into the Michindoh aquifer to provide water to municipalities outside the aquifer service area.

The village joined the City of Bryan, the Village of West Unity and the Williams County Commissioners, which have also voted against the idea.

Edon Mayor Duane Thiel said, “If they go north of us and start pumping water in a 32-inch pipe or whatever he’s going to put in, and he lowers the water table enough that our wells aren’t deep enough, who is going to pay to dig us new wells?  We are.  That’s the problem I have with it.  They could lower that aquifer drastically.”


Bryan Times, July 17, 2018 (report by Max Reinhart, Bryan Council, BPA resolute against proposal): [Resolution described in July 14 article approved.]


Bryan Times, July 23, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, Community connections taking root …)  Another effort is underway to engage towns, cities and villages that benefit from the aquifer.  Following a joint meeting of Bryan City Council and the Bran Board of Public Affairs, on Monday the resolution city official passed was forwarded to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources and/or the Ohio EPA.  The resolution was also passed on to governments in nine counties in the three states that benefit from the aquifer.  

“We assumed that outside of Williams County people probably didn’t know, and that’s why we originated the e-mail to just give them some information and also attach the resolution that was passed …” said Schlade.

The correspondence goes on to invite affected jurisdictions to join Bryan and Williams County communities in opposition to the proposal.  “It is our hope that in reviewing Artesian’s plan, you will agree with us that pumping Aquifer water outside of the area will be detrimental to our communities,” states the correspondence.

The immediate effort is to bring communities that benefit from the Michindoh Aquifer into the discussion about the AOP plan, and possibly affect the outcome of the process going forward.  The effort may also provide the foundation of a multi-jurisdictional forum that will continue to monitor aquifer issues.

“Even if this does not pan out for AOP, I think that we have put ourselves in a position where now people know about our aquifer that maybe didn’t before,” said Schlade.  “We’re going to have to try to set up safeguards for the future.”


Bryan Times, July 24, 2018 (report by Nancy Jackson, Montpelier weighs in …)  Council members Kevin Motter and Cheri Striecher made statements basically supporting the efforts of Bryan City and Williams County Commissioners.  Council members Melissa Ewers, Chris Kannel, and Nate Thompson stated more information was needed before taking action.  Several residents made statements.

Thompson noted that he  had talked with Kidston, who is willing to give a presentation to the council.  Several people in attendance indicated they would like a hydrologist to be on hand when and if a presentation is given.  Thompson said he would “start the ball rolling.”


Bryan Times, July 31, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Superior Township the latest to oppose …) Township Trustees President Tom Worthington and trustees Dan Gillen and Dave Apple unanimously approved a resolution opposing AOP’s plan at their regular meeting Monday.

Worthington said the action was in response to “lots of phone calls” and feedback he and other trustees have received — virtually all of it negative, he said — over the plan announced by AOP President/Owner Ed Kidston …

Of the plan, Worthington said, “We’re sure it will affect us (negatively).”

Worthington said trustees followed a template of a resolution formulated and distributed by the City of Bryan.


Bryan Times, Aug. 7, 2018 (report by Lucas Bechtol, Edgerton is against drill plan)  The village of Edgerton has become the latest community to oppose Artesian of Pioneer’s plans to sell water from the Michindoh Aquifer to outside entities.

The village joins the City of Bryan, the Williams County Commissioners, the villages of Edon and West Unity, and Superior Township, which have all gone on record opposing the AOP plan.

Edgerton Village Council passed a resolution at its meeting Monday night saying the plan will have “a significant detrimental effect on the quantity, and potential quality, of water” for those served by the aquifer and no water alternative to the village is feasible.

Mayor Lance Bowsher said if the aquifer is not a viable option for villages to get water, finding an alternative would take millions of dollars.

The council passed the resolution with a 5-0 vote.

Bowsher asked citizens to oppose the plan for the right reasons, not to oppose it because AOP owner Ed Kidston will make money.

“Reports of vandalism and threats of physical harm against Mr. Kidston and members of his company, that’s just wrong,” Bowsher said.


Bryan Times, Aug. 11, 2018 (report by Josh Ewers, Area boards weighted against aquifer plan)  Add the Steuben County (Indiana) Commissioners to the growing list of entities that have officially passed resolution declaring their opposition to Artesian of Pioneer’s intent to drill into the Michindoh aquifer.

“We did pass a resolution.  We feel it’s our responsibility to look after things like this for future generations,” said St. Joseph Township Trustee Richard Moffett, noting the vote was unanimous.  “Not that we’re against anybody making a profit, but we’ve got to protect our generations to come.”

Representatives from several other Williams County townships, including Millcreek, Jefferson and Bridgewater, have indicated they are waiting on more information and/or a regularly scheduled meeting of all the county’s township trustees on Aug. 16 at the Williams county East Annex Building before coming to a decision.

Representatives from Brady, Florence, Madison, Northwest, Pulaski and Springfield townships did not return calls by press time.  However, Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade said on Friday that Pulaski Township has passed a resolution as well.

Montpelier Village Council will view a presentation on the situation at a future meeting.


Bryan Times Aug. 18, 2018 (report by Josh Ewers, Township Assn. passes resolution opposing aquifer plan)  The Williams County Township Assn. on Thursday passed a resolution to support Bryan City Council’s resolution which declares opposition to Artesian of Pioneer’s proposal to drill into the Michindoh aquifer and sell its water to up to nine communities outside its borders.

Artesian owner and Pioneer Mayor Ed Kidston is seeking 40-year commitments from communities and other government entities to allow Artesian to sell up to 14 million gallons of aquifer water a day.  The Michindoh is the sole source of drinking water for Williams County.

The vote passed 14 to 5, with 24 of 36 t6ownship trustees present, enough for a quorum.  Five trustees present did not vote at the quarterly meeting.

No one from Springfield Township was present at the meeting, but association president Berdon “Bob” Short indicated that they had been properly informed of the meeting.

Todd Schlachter of Pulaski Township made the motion, with a second from Rodney Baker Sr. of Madison Township.  “There’s really no question.  Do you want to give your water away or keep it for future generations?” Schlachter asked the group.

The vote carried after several members of the association raised various concerns, including one who perceived problems with the wording of Bryan’s proposal regarding suppositions, another who thought the issue ought to be left up to individual townships, and another who sought time to take the proposal back to his township’s meeting.

Prior to the vote, Superior, St. Joseph, Center, Pulaski and Madison townships had already passed similar resolutions while representatives from Millcreek, Jefferson and Bridgewater townships had indicated they were waiting on more information and/or Thursday’s Township Association meeting before passing any resolution.  Others did not communicate with The Bryan Times.

Kidston, who declined to comment on the meeting or the resolution, said he was not invited to attend.  Kidston has said previously that he would halt the project if it was found to harm the county or be unsustainable in nature.

Ohio Rep. Jim Hoops and Short indicated no project application had been field with the Environmental Protection Agency to this point, based on their conversations with officials, and that such an effort would require Kidston to prove the project’s feasibility before approval was granted.

Also prior to the vote, a major topic of conversation was how to get more information on the potential effect of the project and from where that information might come.

During the course of discussion, Williams County Commissioner Terry Rummel revealed some of what was delved into at a meeting last week featuring one official from seven of the nine counties in three states over the aquifer.

(Reader: See Nine County (3 States Coalition)

“They all came to the conclusion that they all want to be on board with studying it, hiring our own hydrologists, so they are hired by that group,” Rummel said.  “And it’s still very, very early on to know what that looks like, but I think the study of it is, in my opinion, probably the most important thing to understand.

“…We want to have our own (study).  I’m sure Ed’s going to have his, we know he’s going to have his person, the EPA is going to have their people,” Rummel said.

He stressed the idea’s infancy and that entities had not formally agreed to anything at this juncture.

“The legality of trying to pull this team of people together is somewhat of a mystery,” he said.  “Just because you put a board together and you monitor it, still doesn’t mean anybody has any meat behind it.”

Commissioner Brian Davis, who attended the multi-state meeting representing Williams County, confirmed Friday that those conversations had taken place and said that the multi-state group would llikely wait until Kidston moved forward with a permit application to meet again.

“What we really focused on was, number one, were we of like mind?  Did we find this to be an issue or not?  What we really talked about was there will come a time when we may look to take some form of action.  Is there a way to do it as one body?” said Davis.  “The general feeling was that each individual would go back to their boards and research the legal aspect.

“Maybe we want to seek a hydrologist to do studies, to drill test wells to see what the pressures are, maybe it’s to employ legal council jointly, it’s a matter of taking all the pieces and bringing it together as a whole.”

Rummel also indicated that after conversations with Jim Watson of Watson Well Drilling, Inc., whose firm has been hired to impartially conduct the test well component of Kidston’s plan, that he independently supports a long-term strategy of monitoring the aquifer’s levels regardless of theoutcome of the current debate.

“His (Watson’s) opinion is that we go out and do test wells and have four test wells in every township so that we know that water level,” said Rummel.

“I believe thoroughly that the monitoring system is the wave of the future and we need to see that like our weather forecast and eventually we’ll know how much rain has hit, and how fast that’s recharging, so we’ll know how hard we can go,” he added.

“…For me I’m going to push the daylights out of that and even if the Kidston thing goes or doesn’t go, I’m pretty committed to staying on task to pull this together.  Even if the other states don’t want to play, that’s OK, we can still do it as Williams County; We still consume the most, we’re the biggest part of it.

“Hopefully, we can at least get the monitoring thing done, at least in Williams County.”

The Michindoh aquifer stretches an estimated 2.3 million acres across nine counties in three states, providing water to about 400,000 people.


Bryan Times, Aug. 28, 2018 (report by Nancy Jackson, Council passes resolution)   In Montpelier:  A resolution identical to the one passed by the City of Bryan and other entities served by the Michindoh was presented and given to council members on Friday.  Member Chris Kannel said he thought the resolution was too strongly worded because there are still uncertainties surrounding the project’s specifics, and amended it in several spots, changing, for example, “strong opposition” to “strong misgiving.”

Most Council members agreed with the changes, except for the title, which Kannel had amended to read, “A resolution recognizing and promoting the importance of the Michindoh Glacial Outwash Aquifer.”

Members thought that title was not strong enough, and changed it to, “A resolution recognizing and promoting the importance of the groundwater aquifer, and expressing concern regarding the drilling for or private distribution of the groundwater from the Michindoh Glacial Outwash Aquifer to locations outside the designated aquifer.”

Don Willis was the lone member opposing the amendments to the original resolution.

Council member Nate Thompson voted for the resolution but expressed his thought that the project is bigger than Montpelier or Williams County and that any resolution passed by the council is just opinion and would not change the course of events.


Bryan Times, Sept. 1, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Defiance County Commissioners opposed to AOP/Michindoh plan)  Commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution of “non-support of aquifer drilling.”  The resolution noted the Michindoh is the sole source of water for many Defiance County residents and “should the levels of the aquifer drop, or if contamination occurs … it would have a devastating impact on Defiance County residents and the residents of surrounding counties and states.”

Defiance County Commissioner Michael “Mick” Pocratsky said Thursday commissioners were approached “a number of times” by constituents at the recently concluded defiance County Fair who expressed their concern and opposition to the plan.

He said the resolution indicates commissioners don’t support AOP’s plan “until we know more about it.”

The resolution notes that commissioners “request that any proposals to drill, pump and sell water from the aquifer be denied or delayed until a hydrological study can be completed” to determine the area of the aquifer, the amount of water contained within the aquifer and the estimated lifetime of the Michindoh.

“We’re opposed to it until we get more information.  I’d like to see the United States Geological Services get involved … but until we find out more about the long-term capacity, the current levels and the (replenishment) rates, we can’t be for it,” Pocratsky said.  He did note that if new information becomes available, “it’s something we could look at again.”

The Michindoh lies underneath the western half of Defiance County, including Hicksville, and is bounded by the Defiance/Paulding county line.

Hicksville Water Superintendent Jessica Elson said the Michindoh is the sole source for the village’s water.  Hicksville draws about 300,000 gallons a day from the aquifer and she said finding an alternate source would be “very costly and not very practical for us.”

Williams County is completely within the Michindoh except for a very small southeastern portion of the county.