Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, said the village did not pump enough water from the Tiffin River to stop its flow.
However, at the request of Robert Wolfrum, Fulton County wildlife officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, the village did stop pumping raw water from the Tiffin River at about 9:15 am, Monday, July 16.
Howell said even when the village was pumping water from the river, it did not draw enough to stop the flow.
Roger Graber, who lives at 26101 Co. Rd. F-G, disputes the claim. The river abuts the rear of his property.
Graber said on Sunday, the Tiffin River stopped flowing, and that he could walk across the riverbed.
Further, he said, fish, both at his property and as far downstream as the Lockport Covered Bridge, were left dead by the lack of water.
Howell said if fish died, it was the result of a lack of oxygen in the water, due to recent high temperatures.
The Big Pump
Archbold draws raw water from the Tiffin River at an unmanned pump station on Co. Rd. G, west of Co. Rd. 24.
Water is sent from the pump station via underground pipeline to the village reservoirs.
In a Monday interview, and at the Monday, July 16, Archbold Village Council meeting, Howell explained the village has two pumps at the station.
Usually, the village operates a pump rated at four million gallons per day, or 4 MGD. The village generally pumps 2.8 to 2.9 MGD from the river, Howell said.
The village has a larger pump at the station that’s rated for 8 MGD, but Howell said he doubts it could actually move that much water.
At least once a year, Archbold runs the big pump, just to make sure it will operate if needed.
Howell said the big pump was started on Thursday, July 12.
Graber said by Sunday, there was no water flowing past his home, which is downstream of the Archbold pump station.
Graber said he contacted Wolfrum, who was out Monday morning, July 16.
Wolfrum observed the river at the Graber property, the Lockport Bridge, and two other bridges.
Graber said, and Howell confirmed, that Wolfrum contacted village officials, specifically Scott Schultz, Archbold water treatment plant superintendent, at about 9 am.
Howell said, and Paul Kurfiss, District Two (Northwest Ohio) law supervisor for the Division of Wildlife, confirmed, that the Division of Wildlife cannot order, or technically even ask, the village to stop pumping from the river.
Howell said Wolfrum did ask Schultz if he could “back off a little bit.”
Kurfiss said Wolfrum’s visit “was a for-your-information type of thing.”
However it was phrased, Schultz stopped the big pump at about 9:15 am; then notified Howell at about 10 am.
After an inquiry by this newspaper, Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, and Howell toured the area at about noon Monday.
They went to the Lockport Bridge and to the bridge over the Tiffin River on Williams County Rd. F, near Stryker.
In both locations, there was water in the river channel.
“The channel was not overfl owing,” Howell said, but there was water in the channel.
He showed pictures he and Wyse had taken during their tour.
If Archbold had pumped the river dry, the three hours from the time the pump was stopped until the noon observation would not be enough time for flow to resume, Howell said.
Further, Howell pulled data from the United States Geological Survey website that showed that as of 2 pm, Monday, 7.3 cubic feet of water per second was flowing past a USGS monitoring station near the Williams County Rd. F bridge.
That, he said, equates to a flow of about 4.52 MGD.
During the drought of 1988, the USGS monitoring station recorded a minimum flow of 3.7 cubic feet of water per second.
“We’re close to twice as much flow as we had in 1988,” Howell said.
Contacted Monday about 9 pm, Graber said, “We just got water past my house about an hour ago.
“It was from 9:15 am (when the pump was shut down) to 8:15 this evening, and we just started to get water flowing.
“It took 11 hours to go about a mile and quarter” from the pump station to his home.
Graber said he made phone calls, trying to determine who was responsible for controlling the pumping of water from the Tiffin River, and was referred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
He called the Corps’ Washington office, but had not received a return call as of Monday night.
Howell told council he instructed Schultz to allow the village reservoirs to get down to a point where pumping can begin again, then resume pumping water from the Tiffin using the small pump.
“Keep ‘em (the reservoirs) full,” Howell said he told Schultz.
Pumping could resume today, Wednesday, he told council.
Graber said Archbold’s wastewater treatment plant discharges treated wastewater into Brush Creek.
The water eventually flows to the Maumee River near Defiance. Defiance draws the water, treats it, and drinks it, Graber said.
Howell said actually, treated wastewater from Archbold is of better quality than Brush Creek water upstream of the plant discharge. Archbold discharges 1.5 to 2.5 MGD, he said.
Graber said he didn’t understand why Archbold couldn’t trap the water discharged from the wastewater plant, retreat it, and reuse it.
The next council meeting is Monday, Aug. 6, 7 pm, in council chambers.