CADIZ - At Thursday's village council meeting, resident Ken Mason spoke up about his concerns regarding the Cadiz Reservoir, located on Reservoir Lane. Currently, water is being drawn by Kokosing Construction for use by the Hess Corporation to frack wells on Toot Rd. (Dog Pound Rd.)
Mason lives near the Reservoir, and every day he hears the drone of the pump and sees the changes occurring in the lake. Mason, who has had a long career in business, said he understands the economic benefits that revenue from the reservoir offers.
However, he is concerned about how much water is being withdrawn and what the effects will be in the future. Water is being pulled out at a rate of 800,000 gallons to 1.2 million gallons per day.
T-L Photo/MOLLIE WARNER
THE CADIZ Reservoir was an issue discussed at Thursday's village council meeting.
Mason said he has been asking the village's agent for the water removal for information over the past three weeks.
"From my perspective...our agent should have been able to provide the information to anyone in the public that's asking what the drawdown on the reservoir could be on a regular basis, on a daily basis, and what the overall environmental impact could potentially be over a period of time, with what they were attempting to take out," Mason explained. "I think it was approximately 48 million gallons, which is what it's going to take to frack the four wells that are currently out there on Toot Rd."
Mason added that it took some persistent "pushing" to get the information from Kokosing.
After sharing his personal concerns, Mason produced a list of 90 people, some within Cadiz and all within Harrison County, who are also concerned about the reservoir's water withdrawal. The list contained comments about fishing and recreation, among others.
"It is a vital resource as far as the community of Cadiz is concerned," Mason said. "I think it's incumbent upon us, as storers of that resource, to do everything we can to maintain it, either for the recreational aspect of fishermen or individuals on kayaks, or even possibly, as noted in our resource data, as a possible resource for back-up water supply."
Mason believes that with planning, the village can use oil and gas operators to dredge and improve the lake, making it an even better resource.
"My concern is the oxygenation of the lake. Currently, we're in July, as that lake gets down into that funnel and as we draw water off, the possibility of fish kill if that lake turns over, the stench is going to be not only my problem but it's going to be every person's problem in this community," he said.
Mason went on to say that a thorough study should be conducted to determine the possible long-term effects of taking so much water from the reservoir, which is visibly depleted by three to four feet.
Several members of council have viewed the lake recently.
Kokosing is nearly done drawing water for the Toot Rd. wells, and no action is likely to be taken regarding the current contract with that company. However, council may look more carefully at new contracts with other companies that could want to draw from the reservoir.
"One of the recommendations that I would make is that we consider, in future negotiations as far as water sales, that it be part of the discussions to have that lake looked at and improved," Mason offered. "Not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, because that lake can continue to give and we can continue to make money on it."
Mason informed council of a new well that is being planned by Chesapeake Energy. The "Margaret Well" has already been permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
According to Water Superintendent Tom Carter, 51.88 million gallons are left in the reservoir. It is expected that Kokosing will be withdrawing another five million gallons.
Councilman Jim Drexler asked about regeneration data, and was informed by Carter that there is information on ODNR's website. However, Carter questioned the accuracy of the data.
"They're telling us that it will regenerate 300,000 gallons a day on an average daily flow. I personally think that's a little high," Carter explained. "I will make the statement that in 1999, when we were using it as a public water source, we were 50 inches below overflow level, which is lower than what we are at right now...the lake's been lower than it is now."
Council agreed that before another agreement to sell water is made, the future effects should be examined more thoroughly. Solicitor Costa Mastros informed council that there is an option to suspend water sales, with a 48-hour notice.
"There are mechanisms in place that we can utilize if we need to," he said.
"I think it's important that we get something in writing that holds them accountable...if the lake turns over," said Mason. "They're on the hook at that point. We have done our due diligence and asked for the facts."
Mason reminded council that the hydrologist agent doing the analysis of the water withdrawal's effects was hired by Kokosing. He thanked council for taking an interest in visiting the reservoir and listening to his concerns.
Mastros then briefly discussed selling affluent water, which many local communities have done recently.
"It's just another income stream," he said. "It's our refuse, and if we are able we should do that as well...we have to take advantage of these opportunities while we can."
Warner may be reached at email@example.com.