A long stretch of dry weather is exasperating an already deteriorating condition for groundwater levels in the Village of Elmore/Harris Township area, say some residents who rely on well systems.
A public meeting to discuss a study by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources of groundwater in the area is scheduled for July 25 at the Harris-Elmore Fire Station.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
“It’s getting bad,” said Joe Street, of Elliston-Trowbridge Road.
At the request of several homeowners, the ODNR in May 2011 initiated a study of the aquifer after the residents said their wells were being affected by what are called “high-yielding irrigation wells” that several growers have installed for watering fields – tomato crops in particular.
The study area is bounded by State Route 163 to the north; the Portage River to the south; Martin-Williston Road to the west, and State Route 590 to the east.
The study focused on the effects that five high-yielding irrigation wells have had on 11 residential wells but also examined data from other large wells, including a well field operated by the Village of Woodville.
W.F. Hoffman, a neighbor of Mr. Street, said the pump in his well may need to be lowered.
When the study was conducted last summer, water levels in his well averaged in the mid 30-foot range between April and August, except for July when they dropped to more than 40 feet.
The pattern is repeating this year at a deeper range of the water level, Hoffman said.
“I think I might have to lower the pump,” he said. “I’m right at the point where it’s cutting off. I understand it’s dry out. I feel for the farmers. If we got rain that would help us because the farmers might be able to quit pumping. The key to the whole thing is the recovery rate of the aquifer. If you look at the graphs in the study, once they stop pumping the water comes right back up. But it looks like they’re exceeding the recovery rate by such a margin it’s pulling the groundwater down by 10 or 11 feet. That’s the whole area.
“I hope there is some way we could find a happy medium; if there is some type of reservoir or holding tank that could ease the pressure. We need to find some way of working together so they don’t pull the water down so fast. What if this drought goes on till September?”