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|04-28-03: Celina may dig for water
|Councilors to consider $50,000 test drilling at field
By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
City officials have a well field agreement secured for a tract of land
less than a mile north of Celina, and council members tonight will consider legislation
allowing test drilling at the site to begin.
The city settled on the 80-plus acre site off U.S. 127 after months of
having consultants pore over existing well data and geographic information, including
analyzing aerial photos for depressions that may tell where the water may be.
Safety Service Director Mike Sovinski said Celina has an agreement with
Heffner Enterprises Inc. for the section of land east of the U.S. 127 intersection with
Miller Road. If Celina finds it a suitable site for supplying water, another agreement
stipulating the sale or long-term lease of the property will be negotiated. If not, the
property will be turned back over to the company, which owns hundreds of acres in the
Celina would be looking to pump approximately 3 million gallons per day
from new wells, Water Superintendent Mike Sudman said Friday. That could come from a
couple wells or a dozen.
Coldwater has nearly a dozen wells, and St. Marys has only four, with
one that can pump nearly 2 million gallons a day and cost nearly $500,000 to dig, Sudman
said. The big well in St. Marys is 20 inches in diameter.
Celina is seeking a 12-inch well, Sovinski said. With the digging of
the main well, at least two smaller tests wells will be dug on the site to gauge the
"draw down" impact on surrounding wells.
Sovinski admitted that if the Heffner land becomes the city's well
field, a new treatment plant probably won't be built at its current location at the south
end of Celina. He said there are no sites even in consideration. Sudman said the EPA would
allow the plant to be built on the Heffner land, even though it's not in Celina.
Along with the drilling phase comes more expenses.
Sovinski said project materials have been sent to seven drilling
companies in the region and the cost is estimated at $50,000.
Last month Sovinski incorrectly told council members that a payment of
$19,000 to Jones & Henry Engineering, Columbus, would cover the cost of drilling. The
firm is assisting the city through the process of well water exploration and meeting
Environmental Protection Agency process requirements, but drilling is separate, Sovinski
told The Daily Standard on Friday.
Included in the 2003 appropriations was $150,000 for the various costs
that will be incurred this year while seeking a solution to Celina's water troubles.
Approximately $80,000 already has been set aside for preliminary well exploration and
current actions, engineering studies on the effectiveness of the current ozone treatment
component, negotiating a well field land contract and conducting pilot testing for
membrane treatment technology.
The process of securing another water source other than Grand Lake St.
Marys or greatly improving the current system is being mandated by the EPA, which cited
the city for repeated drinking water violations.
Celina is being forced by the EPA to comply with the rules for
trihalomethane (THM) content in the water, which is believed to contribute to gastric
cancers and other complications. The EPA's orders came last year after the city maintained
a high THM average on numerous occasions during the last 10 years.
The findings and orders document issued by the EPA outlines the steps
the city must take in finding a cleaner source of water. During the negotiating phase of
the orders, Celina was able to lower the fine from $20,000 to $10,000, and had the wording
expanded to allow a wider range of treatment options. When the orders initially came down,
the EPA directed the city to specifically build a new membrane treatment plant.
The prospect of continuing to use lake water is all but abandoned,
because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources denied the city's request to draw another
1.5 million gallons per day from the lake, which would bring the daily allowance to 3
million a day. Celina's current water usage hovers around 1.5 million gallons a day, with
peak periods in the summer nearing 2 million gallons a day. City officials have indicated
a new plant would be near 3 million gallons a day to satisfy future increases in demand.
City council will meet tonight at 7 in the municipal courtroom in city
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