The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Hearing set for Michindoh Aquifer status 11.18.2009

Written by David Green.

The EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago is poised to approve Sole Source Aquifer (SSA) status for the Michindoh Aquifer that underlies both Morenci and Fayette.

The City of Bryan applied for SSA status to help raise awareness of drinking water quality and to help with future planning decisions.

“Clean water is something that’s usually taken for granted,” said Lou Pendleton of Bryan’s utilities department. “The main benefit of SSA is to take what we’ve learned about our aquifer and make others aware of the value.”

The EPA initially scheduled a comment period that ended last week, but it’s now been extended for an indefinite period. Pendleton expects the EPA to issue a final decision following a public hearing in January 2010.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA the authority to designate an aquifer as the sole source of drinking water for a designated area.

The Michindoh Aquifer includes all of Williams County and portions of Fulton and Defiance counties in Ohio; portions of Lenawee and Hillsdale counties in Michigan; and portions of Allen, DeKalb and Steuben counties in Indiana. The aquifer serves the drinking water needs of about 20 communities.

An aquifer could be equated to a large sponge of sand and gravel that holds vast amounts of underground water resources.

SSA status helps protect drinking water supplies in areas where few or no alternative sources are available. If contamination were to occur, developing an alternative source would be very expensive.

With EPA approval, the agency must review all federally funded projects in the area to determine the potential for contaminating the aquifer. In this area, Pendleton said, the Interstate highway is the only federal project. The placement of any additional exits, for example, would be reviewed in regard to impact on the aquifer.

SSA status should serve as a guide for future land use, Pendleton said. For example, a chemical plant should not be situated above an aquifer recharge area.

Two Ohio state laws are already in place to guard SSAs, she said. One covers the need for double-walled underground storage tanks and the other governs construction debris in landfills.

One enormous landfill above the aquifer is “grandfathered in,” but future expansion might be limited.

At a Michindoh meeting last year, a speaker from the U.S. Geological Service told how protective clay layers do not always prevent contaminants from reaching deep aquifers.

Another speaker stated that the SSA effort does not aim to discourage commercial growth, but instead to plan wisely.

• Comments should be addressed to William Spaulding, EPA Region 5 (WG-15J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604.

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