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, Commissioners see Michindoh as regional resource): The nine counties that draw water from the Michindoh are: Branch, Hillsdale and Lenawee in Michigan; Steuben and DeKalb in Indiana; and Williams, Fulton, Henry and Defiance in Ohio.

To date there hasn’t been any official communication or coordination of information about the aquifer crossing county or state lines.

That may change soon as Williams County Commissioners have begun a process to share information and facilitate a nine-county discussion between county governments about the aquifer and the current plans to draw and sell millions of gallons of water daily.

Commission Vice President Terry Rummel agreed that the engagement with other counties was important, but added that the aquifer could also benefit from additional dedicated manpower and resources.  Rummel put forward the idea of hiring a county hydrologist, and that all concerned counties consider water well monitoring systems.

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. 11, 2018 (report by Ron Osburn, Pioneer councilman to submit motion)  Pioneer councilman Al Kwader said Friday he will introduce a resolution during Monday’s council meeting to oppose the plans by Artesian of Pioneer to sell water from the Michindoh aquifer to entities outside the county.

Kwader said he is familiar with the damage suffered by overuse of the Ogallala aquifer in western states, and he believes the AOP plan will negatively affect local water supplies.  “I don’t think there’s any doubt.  It’s already gone down.  (The AOP plan) is definitely going to hurt it,” he said.

Kwader said he initially was told other council members would support a resolution in opposition.  Friday he said he’s now being told that no other councilperson will support it and believes they are being pressured by Kidston.

“I probably won’t get a second (on the motion) but I’m still going to present it,” said Kwader.  “I’m not intimidated by Kidston.” he added.

Kwader said he plans to use a template resolution being circulated by the city of Bryan.

Bryan Times Aug. 14, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, Aquifer topic of meeting attended by seven counties)  Elected representatives from seven of the nine counties in three states that draw their water from the Michindoh aquifer met in Williams County on Thursday afternoon to get familiar (with) the issues presented by a major plan to draw millions of gallons of water daily from the aquifer.

It’s been estimated that residences, farms and industry in the three-state region draw about 75 million gallons of water daily from the Michindoh, and a plan put forward by Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) could draw up to 14 million more to provide water to communities surrounding Toledo.

“Some were unaware of the extent (of the AOP proposal), or public sentiment,” Brian Davis said.  “We all agree that we need to work together.”

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, there had been little communication between affected counties or across state lines regarding the potential aquifer draw.  Davis characterized the meeting as a first step in a process that could have governments working together and bringing resources together.

Bryan Times, Aug. 14, 2018 (report by Lucas Bechtol, Opposed to opposition)  (Al) Kwader presented a resolution before the council to oppose any drilling into the aquifer for water distribution outside the area.  Silence from the remainder of the council resulted in an uproar from the crowd.  (No second on the motion.)

Rod Eckley, council member said “For me, it’s about needing more information.  I want to see information.  I have what Ed’s saying, that it’s going to be great, not going to affect anything, not going to harm anything.  And I’ve got an angry mob saying that we’re going to be devastated and I don’t know.  I don’t know and I would like to see some facts, some testing.”

Eckley said he didn’t expect the EPA to let the project go through if it would have negative effects and expects them to intervene if it happens and becomes negative.  Kidston agreed.

Overall, Eckley said, he has confidence in Kidston and denied reports he was being paid by Kidston.

Councilwoman Connie Salisbury said the only way to know whether or not there will be negative effects on the aquifer is to test it.  “I am not going to vote on anything until I know the positive and the negative,” she said.  “Why would you ant me to make a motion to accept something when I don’t have the facts? … I didn’t have anything to say about the motion because I can’t make a conscious effort until I know for myself.  It’s not going to be my opinion, it will be based on facts.”

Salisbury said she was not a risk taker and doing anything involving Mother Nature is “scary.”  That means she will need a lot of facts before making any sort of decision in this area.  “I live in this community, all of us live in this community, and none of us want to do any harm to our home,” Salisbury said.  “Why are we getting all bent before we understand all the facts?”

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.

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.

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.

Bryan Times, Aug. 25, 2018 (report by Don Koralewski, Counties to discuss aquifer use)  Representatives from the nine counties that draw from the Michindoh aquifer will meet again on Sep.t 10 to discuss a formal, unified response to plans to draw and sell aquifer water to communities surrounding Toledo.

A request for a formal meeting of the counties came from Defiance County Commissioner Ryan Mack this weel.  In correspondence to Williams County Commissioners, Mack requested that a meeting be planned that included voting majority members from each affected county “So that individually and as a whole votes can be taken on allocation of funds, and to decide certain legal matters.”

Mack suggested an agenda that included:

  • discussion of joint funding of a study to be done by the United States Geological Survey (USGS):
  • Discussion of the possibility of forming an actual joint board to monitor their shared resource (the Michindoh aquifer) into the future;
  • Discussion of joint allocation of funding for the retention of legal representation for a multi-jurisdictional/multi-state body … Or, discussion as to whether legal issues could be handled through county prosecutors’ offices, and:
  • Any other matters that may arise.

The meeting being planned in Williams County for Sept. 10 is expected to be a meeting open to the public, and a meeting whereby a unified voice from multiple jurisdictions is expected to go on the record with regard to aquifer drilling plans.

Additionally, Williams County Commissioner Brian Davis said gathered commissioners may develop a plan for going forward that may include shared resources for the services of hydrologists and other specialists to get a solid understanding of the capacities and limits to the Michindoh aquifer.

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.