Toledo water deal progressing; effect on AOP plan unclear
By RON OSBURN
Two more municipalities approved a regional water contract with Toledo on Oct. 1, bringing to five the number of entities that have made commitments to join a commission to get their drinking water from Toledo.
Whitehouse Village Council and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to sign 40-year contracts with Toledo for wholesale drinking water. They join Maumee and Monroe County as wholesale customers under the new regional water system, while Lucas County has also signed on, but as a full-service retail customer with slightly different rates.
Toledo has said potential customers have until Oct. 18 to decide whether they’ll sign new contracts or get their water elsewhere. Sylvania, Perrysburg and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District have yet to formalize an agreement with Toledo.
It’s unclear how these votes affect the controversial proposal by Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) to supply water from the Michindoh Aquifer. With the suburban communities and Toledo at loggerheads over a new agreement last year, AOP President Ed Kidston had approached most of the eight entities with a plan to provide millions of gallons of Michindoh water. And last fall, a consortium of seven entities approved a $164,114 test well agreement with AOP.
The agreement was signed by the Henry County Regional Water and Sewer Board of Trustees on behalf of the board, the villages of Whitehouse and Liberty Center, the cities of Maumee, Sylvania and Perrysburg and the Bowling Green-based Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
However, the Henry County Regional Water and Sewer Board of Trustees has since agreed to merge with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, though that agreement is not yet been finalized.
Kidston did not respond Friday to a phone call and email requesting comment.
Earlier this year, the Ohio EPA gave AOP preliminary approval for a single test well site at 24688 Fulton County Road S, just northwest of Fayette. The EPA has since been reviewing more than 250 written comments about the application received at a March public meeting in Fayette that drew about 800 people.
After Maumee agreed to join the Toledo water commission Sept. 25, Mayor Richard Carr said the AOP plan gave the suburban communities leverage in their negotiations with Toledo.
“We would not have had the leverage with the city of Toledo had we not explored alternatives. Until (Toledo) city council accepted we could and would purchase water from another entity, we could not negotiate,” Carr told the Toledo Blade.
Northwestern Water and Sewer District spokesperson Theresa Pollick said Thursday the board meets Oct. 10, and while the agenda was not yet official, “I expect the Toledo water agreement probably will be discussed.”
Pollick said the board could discuss and vote on the Toledo agreement Oct. 10, or at its next meeting Oct. 24. She also said the board is still awaiting results of a Poggemeyer Design Group study calculating the transmission costs from the proposed test water well site near Fayette to the seven communities that were considering the location for a new regional ground water plant.
A Sylvania Council Committee of the Whole meets tonight but the water issue is not specifically listed as an agenda topic.
At its Oct. 1 meeting, Perrysburg City Council had its first reading of Resolution 66-2019, authorizing a uniform water purchase and supply agreement with the City of Toledo.