Ohio EPA: Artesian of Pioneer still in very early phases in developing new water system

Artesian of Pioneer is asking for a production well site to be approved, one of the early steps.

Posted: Mar. 12, 2019 9:48 PM
Updated: Mar. 13, 2019 8:51 AM

FAYETTE, Ohio (WFFT) - Several people from northeast Indiana are letting the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency know what they think about a proposal to sell ground water from the Michindoh Aquifer to communities near Toledo.

The aquifer is below several counties in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, but the actual boundaries are unknown.

The Ohio EPA held an informational meeting to let community members how the process works, and where they are in the process.

Artesian of Pioneer is asking for a production well site to be approved, one of the early steps.

An Ohio EPA spokeswoman told FOX 55 News the agency normally doesn't hold informational meetings this early in the process, but this situation was different because of the level of public interest.

"Where we have an idea, but it's not fully flushed out and we don't have a lot of details," said Heidi Grismer, Ohio EPA spokeswoman.

More than 100 people attended Tuesday's meeting at Fayette Local Schools, many from northeast Indiana.

The are worried about what effects the new water system would have on their wells.

"The Michindoh Aquifer is my soul source of aquifer. While I'm not worried about water for myself, I'm worried about water for my children and grandchildren. I'm worried about the future," said Susan Catterall.

"At some point when we are without water, we will have to transport it from Lake Erie to here, treat it. For the farmers who want to irrigate, that would be cost-prohibitive," said Niann Lautzenhiser, Hamilton.

The process will repeat for each production well. Artesian of Pioneer is required to have at least two wells in the water system.

The Ohio EPA directed all comments and questions about how much water would be used and how long it will take for the aquifer to recharge to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Comments on the well site application will be taken until Friday. Those can be submitted to Ohio EPA, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, Attn. Craig Smith, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049.

The Ohio EPA plans to have more public comment sessions and meetings as the process moves forward.

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