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

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • 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.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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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