Search for water extends west to wells, north to Detroit

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Lake Erie starts to take on a green tint again this summer, entities north of Bowling Green are  scouting for quality, affordable water – with no clear source in sight. So the search continues, now shifting west to an underground water source, and north to Detroit. Proposals change by the week, according to representatives of the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, who recently updated the Wood County Commissioners on the issue affecting much of the northern half of the county. The district provides water to 6,500 customers in Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Lake Township, Perrysburg Township and Troy Township. The water is purchased from the city of Toledo – and future contracts with the city are on shaky ground. The proposed Toledo Area Water Authority – which many had pinned their hopes on as a solution that would work for the entire region – appears to be dead in the water, according to Jerry Greiner, executive director of the district. Toledo balked at the idea of sharing ownership of its water plant, even though it meant other entities would then help with the towering expenses to update the plant. “Whether you’re the city of Toledo or Bloomdale, cities don’t want to give up their utilities,” said Rex Huffman, attorney for the district. But the district, Huffman said, sees the water customers as the owners – not the city. With the sinking of the TAWA plan, Toledo is now offering another possible option. Last week, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz talked about establishing a regional water commission with representatives from each community that buys Toledo’s water. The commission would then set water rates for all customers based on the true cost of service and would make decisions about capital improvements. The district is willing to consider any viable option, Greiner and Huffman said. “Some easily dismiss it, and say ‘I don’t want to deal with Toledo.’ But I think that’s a mistake,” Huffman said. The district may support this concept if it meets the long-term goal of reasonable, uniform,…

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NW district weighs water options from Toledo, BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Concerns about water quality, quantity and costs have resulted in a possible regional water system with Toledo in the center. But if that Plan A falls apart, then the northern Wood County area is eyeing a possible Plan B involving Bowling Green water. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District held a public meeting in Perrysburg Thursday evening to talk about possible options for approximately 6,500 of its water customers in northern Wood County. To serve its northern customers, the district currently purchases water from Toledo, then distributes it to Rossford, Northwood, Walbridge, Perrysburg Township, Troy Township and Lake Township. The status quo has been disrupted in the past few years by several concerns about Toledo water quality and cost. Toledo has been ordered to make many water system improvements, with the costs being passed on to customers who already pay large surcharges. Complaints from communities served by the district have shown growing dissatisfaction over the rates and the water quality since the Toledo system went through the algal bloom crisis of 2014. The district’s contract with Toledo water expires in 2024 – which in water agreement years is not much time. Meanwhile, talks with Toledo are still not quite complete, and negotiations with Bowling Green haven’t even begun. Rex Huffman, attorney with the district, explained at Thursday’s meeting that several political entities served by Toledo water share the same concerns. So after months of negotiations, the Toledo Area Water Authority was created. Signing a memorandum of understanding for TAWA were officials from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, Toledo, Lucas County, Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Whitehouse, Fulton County and Monroe County. “We have a chance to really look at regional water,” Huffman said. “We want to link arms, work together, solve these problems regionally,” he said. The TAWA agreement focuses on providing economical savings and environmentally safe water for all parties, according to Eric Rothstein, an attorney who is helping to form the water authority. “This is an approach to a regional water system that benefits all parties,”…

Public meeting on Toledo Area Water Authority initiative set for Feb. 15

From NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT The Northwestern Water and Sewer District (The District) will host a Regional Water Informational Meeting on water supply options in Wood County Thursday, February 15, 6:30 p.m., Quality Inn, 10612 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. As an established regional water authority, The District is exploring long-term water supply options for approximately 6,500 water customers in Northern Wood County, including the cities of Rossford and Northwood, The Village of Walbridge, as well as customers in Perrysburg Township, Troy Township, and Lake Township. The District is currently exploring options with the Toledo Regional Water Authority (TAWA) as well as other water sources in Wood County. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the public by presenting information regarding these options, prior to making the decision to sign an agreement with TAWA. Information on TAWA and most the recent Wood County Economic Development Study will be presented. Click for more information on TAWA. Click for information on the most recent Wood County Economic Development Study. https://www.facebook.com/events/1597726893 Directions: From I-75, take Exit 193 (US 20), head east on Fremont Pike (US20), right on Lakevue Drive, the Quality Inn will be on the right with parking and access to the conference room facing US 20. ACCOMIDATIONS/RESERVATIONS: The District’s public meetings and events are accessible to people with disabilities. If you need assistance in participating in a meeting or event due to a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact The District at least three (3) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation. To reserve a seat, please call or email below. Phone: 419-354-9090 EX 193 Email: district@nwwsd.org

Northwestern Water and Sewer District active exploring creation of regional water authority

By DAVID DUPONT & JAN McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Officials from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District will continue to take Part in talks aimed at creating a regional water authority. The proposed Toledo Area Water Authority would purchase and operate the Toledo water plant. Jerry Greiner, the district president, said in an interview that talk of creating a regional water district has been going on for 15 years. But Toledo officials have always insisted they were not able to sell the water plant. Now the new administration of Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is saying that selling the plant is possible, or at least leasing the facility. That plant is in the midst of a $500 million retrofit, that’s about 60 percent done. Toledo is facing financing the rest of the job. As Toledo does this work required by the EPA, it is facing renegotiating contracts with many of its customers, including NWWSD. That contract expires in October, 2024. Those entities are looking for alternate sources of water. Greiner and the district’s general counsel Rex Huffman have been part of the discussion with eight other entities, including Perrysburg. About a third of the district’s 19,000 customers receive water from Toledo, not including those who get Toledo water through Perrysburg. The district draws its water from five entities in all, including Bowling Green. Greiner said that the possibility of the district contracting with Bowling Green to get water is still open. At a district board meeting this morning (Jan. 25), trustees gave the nod to Greiner and Huffman to go ahead and agree to continue to be part of the planning. No formal vote was taken. Rob Armstrong, one of the nine board members, objected. He was concerned about the district’s representation on the water authority governing board. As outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding, the district would share a seat on the board with Fulton County. The seats are apportioned based on the percentage of Toledo’s water that an entity draws. The district draws 5 percent, and Fulton draws 3 percent, Huffman noted. Perrysburg has its…