By Amy Oberlinaoberlin@kpcmedia.com Dec 16, 2018
Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has made two deliveries to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office over the past couple of weeks.
On Dec. 13, Kruse took a box containing petitions with 444 signatures from people who live in Clear Lake, Hamilton Lake, LaGrange, Angola, Auburn, Garrett, Spencerville, Harlan and Fort Wayne obtained by the Michindoh Water Warriors. Water Warriors is a citizens group opposed to plans by Artesian of Pioneer (Ohio) to pipe water from the Michindoh Aquifer to suburbs of Toledo.
Earlier this month, Kruse and state Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, delivered a letter to the governor’s office from the Concerned Citizens of DeKalb County, stating opposition to Artesian taking water outside aquifer boundaries.
“I concur with that,” said Kruse. He said northeastern Indiana has been blessed with clean lakes and plentiful groundwater.
“We want to protect our water and our wells,” said Kruse. “Hopefully we can stop it.”
While Kruse was unable to converse with Holcomb when delivering petitions, he said he plans to personally express his opposition.
“I intend to talk to him about it,” said Kruse. “I want to preserve the water that we have.”
The Michindoh Aquifer covers 2 million acres in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana and lies within the Great Lakes watershed.
Artesian’s owner, Ed Kidston, the mayor of Pioneer, Ohio, applied Nov. 13 with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to site a production well. Following an initial review, the Ohio EPA is in the process of scheduling a site visit with Artesian and the Ohio DNR.
Kidston has attended municipal meetings and signed agreements with seven communities to study the creation of the service.
The well site registered with the Ohio EPA is land leased by Kidston at 24668 C.R. S in Fulton County, Ohio. Kidston told The Bryan Times he has drilled four observation wells.
As presented at meetings in the Toledo area, Kidston intends to take 10-14 million gallons of water a day for communities that pay for the service. U.S. Geological Survey records show that registered industrial and agricultural water users in Steuben and DeKalb counties together use about 10 million gallons a day. Indiana law refers to 100,000 gallons a day as “significant water withdrawal.”
Traditionally, the suburbs of Toledo have purchased water cleaned from Lake Erie by Toledo utilities.
Retired Trine University Professor Pete Hippensteel says water consumers in the Toledo area may be attracted to the cheapest, easiest alternative. In this case, that may be buying water from Kidston, taken from the Michindoh Aquifer.
“There has to be some kind of regulation,” Hippensteel said. “Somebody has to have the ability to say no.”
A Regional Water Meeting will be held on Dec. 18 at the Holiday Inn Toledo South, 10630 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg, Ohio. The meeting is hosted by Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
The purpose of the meeting is to update the public with the latest information regarding possible water options, including Toledo water, Bowling Green water and water from the Michindoh Aquifer.
“As an established regional water authority, the district continues exploring long-term water supply options for approximately 6,500 water customers, including those in the cities of Rossford and Northwood, The Village of Walbridge, as well as customers in Perrysburg Township, Troy Township and Lake Township,” said the meeting announcement on Facebook.
In the meantime, an organization called Toledoans for Safe Water is promoting an open letter in support of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and the Rights of Nature. It can be found at bit.ly/2Ewgahl
“The world is watching as the campaign for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights continues to fight for placement on the special election ballot scheduled for Feb. 26, 2019,” the letter read. LEBOR received a unanimous vote from Toledo City Council on Dec. 4 but a law firm has filed opposition. A hearing is slated for Dec. 20.
The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is a first-in-the-nation Ecosystem Rights of Nature law proposed by Toledoans for Safe Water. In 2014, nearly 500,000 people were unexpectedly left without drinkable water for three days due to a toxic algal bloom in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.
“Since that time Toledoans have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of action and accountability in stopping the unnecessary and preventable destruction to our drinking water and the Lake Erie ecosystem,” the letter read. “The Lake Erie Bill of Rights initiative is part of a growing national Community Rights Movement. Local groups of concerned citizens across the country are fighting for their right to say ‘no’ to unsustainable projects and unjust regulations that threaten their livelihood and well being, as well as nature’s.”