At least three persons concur: water was not flowing in the Tiffin River from at least 1 pm, Sunday, July 15, to about 10 am, Monday, July 16.
Just as he did in an article on the same topic in last week’s edition of this newspaper, Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, disagrees.
Bob Apger, Archbold, said he received a call about 12:30 pm, Sunday, July 15, to go look at the river.
Standing on the Co. Rd. G bridge over the Tiffin River, near a Village of Archbold pump station, Apger said he could look upstream and see pools of water standing in low parts of the riverbed, connected by streams running from pool to pool.
“Just past the pump station intake there was no natural flow between the pools. There was no flow,” Apger said.
Robert Wolfrum, Fulton County wildlife officer of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, visited the same location Monday morning, and confi rmed Apger’s facts.
“There was bare mud below the pump station. Zero flow” beyond that point.
“There was definitely flow up to the pump station, a good amount.
“Then the channel went into a little run to the (pump station) intake,” he said.
So Archbold was pumping out all of the water flowing into the Tiffin?
“No doubt about it,” he said.
Roger Graber, who lives about 1 1/4 miles downstream of the pump station in the 26000 block of Co. Rd. F-G, confirmed Apger’s and Wolfrum’s observations.
Big Pump, Little Pump
At the pump station, Archbold has two pumps: a big pump, rated for eight million gallons of water per day, or 8 MGD, and a small, 4 MGD pump.
The big pump isn’t used often, but is run once a year to make sure it’s ready if needed.
Starting on Thursday, July 12, Archbold began running the big pump.
Wolfrum said after viewing the situation at the pump station he went to the Lockport Bridge, where he checked the dissolved oxygen level in water.
He found the oxygen level low, but did not observe dead fish.
He checked two other places between the Lockport Bridge and the pump station, and found the same results.
Wolfrum met with Scott Schultz, superintendent of the Archbold water treatment plant. He said the “big pump, small pump” situation was explained to him.
Wolfrum said he asked if it was possible for the village to stop pumping and allow the river to recover.
“I wanted to avoid any chance of a fish kill,” Wolfrum said.
The big pump was shut off at about 9:15 a.m., Monday.
Graber said within 45 minutes the river had recovered, and by about 10 am, water was flowing downstream from the pump station.
Archbold did not withdraw any water from the Tiffin until about 8 am, Tuesday morning, July 17, when the small pump was started.
Schultz said throughout the whole period, Archbold always had plenty of water available.
Howell did not make any observations of the Tiffi n River until after 11 am, Monday, July 16, and at that time, water was flowing.
He relies on the United States Geological Survey. The USGS is a scientific agency of the U.S. government. Among its many duties is monitoring water levels in rivers throughout the nation.
The USGS operates a monitoring station on the Tiffin River in Stryker.
At midnight, Sunday, July 15, the monitoring station recorded 10 cubic feet of water flowing past every second.
Howell said the 10 cubicfeet per-second figure calculates out to 6.56 million gallons of water per day flowing past the Stryker monitoring station.
The flow past the station did decrease. At midnight Monday, July 16, it decreased to 8.5 cubic feet per second; the following midnight, Tuesday, July 17, it was 6.5 cubic feet per second. On Wednesday, July 18, it was down to 4.9 cubic feet per second.
After rains on Thursday, July 19, flow past the monitoring station increased dramatically. It reached over 140 cubic feet per second on Saturday, July 21.
Howell noted that there is nothing between the Archbold pump station and Stryker monitoring station that would add a significant amount of water to the river.
“The water had to come from somewhere,” he said.