The Northwest Water & Sewer District on Thursday became the seventh community to join a regional water commission and make a long-term commitment to getting its drinking water from Toledo.
The district’s board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution approving the Uniform Water Purchase and Supply Agreement with the City of Toledo.
“After years of discussion, studying multiple options, the district’s board feels this contract is the most agreeable to our members for a long-term, fair rate,” District Board Chairman Mark Sheffer said after Thursday’s unanimous vote by the seven board members present.
On Monday, the Toledo suburb of Sylvania also gave its approval to a 40-year contract for water from Toledo. Sylvania and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District join Monroe County, Maumee, Whitehouse and Fulton County in approving contracts for wholesale water rates with Toledo.
Lucas County has agreed to a full-service retail water contract with slightly different rates than the wholesale customers.
Perrysburg is expected to be the eighth member of the new Toledo water commission. At its Oct. 1 meeting, Perrysburg City Council had its first of what is expected to be three readings in consecutive meetings of Resolution 66-2019, authorizing a uniform water purchase and supply agreement with the City of Toledo.
Those nine entities had been meeting over the past year to discuss their regional water options after talks with Toledo had broken down. Included in those options was a plan by Artesian of Pioneer (AOP) to drill into the local underground aquifer and pipe millions of gallons to service some or all of those nine entities.
Williams County draws its water from the local aquifers — collectively called the Michindoh (Michigan-Indiana-Ohio) — and the plan proffered by AOP President Ed Kidston drew considerable opposition from Williams County residents.
Kidston detailed his plan in a series of interviews with The Bryan Times beginning in June 2018. But in the face of widespread, ongoing criticism, he has over the past several months declined to respond to requests by The Times for comment.
Earlier this week, however, Kidston told a Fulton County newspaper that in light of the recent approvals by what is now eight entities to get water from Toledo, he probably will not move forward with his plan to drill into the Michindoh.
“Obviously, we’re not going to go forward with a project with no customers,” Kidston told the Archbold Buckeye. “We were excited to be involved and we provide a good alternative.
“I’m not crying in my soup. You invest in a project; some materialize, and some don’t. It’s nothing unusual,” Kidston said.
Kidston had made application at the end of 2018 for a water system with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and drilled three observation wells on a site north of County Road S, in Fulton County, northwest of Fayette.
The Ohio EPA has been reviewing public comments about the AOP plan since March. Contacted Tuesday, OEPA spokesperson Dina Pierce said the agency has “not made a decision on the application yet,” adding, “We do not know the applicant’s plans for the project.”
Kidston told the Buckeye the observation well will either be sealed or be capped for potential use by the local landowner.
However, Kidston also noted in the Buckeye story published Wednesday that until the Toledo water commission is finalized, the possibility of the AOP plan moving forward “isn’t over till it’s over.”