Three entities working to improve water quality and a farmer west of Defiance have signed an agreement for an experimental water quality project in Mark Township, Defiance County.
The contract was signed this week by the County Soil and Water Conservation Office, the City of Defiance and the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) with owners Mike and Michelle Zeedyk, owners of the site that will be used on Breininger Road near Platter Creek, just west of Mark Center in the middle of Defiance County.
A filter area measuring 100 feet by 25 feet will be constructed, into which runoff from the fields will enter through one drainage tile and exit through another tile on its way to Platter Creek (which eventually empties into the Maumee River).
The wood chips will provide filtration for the system, which will be installed in an uncultivated grassy area, according to Tyler Miller, a technician with the county water and soil bureau who helped design the filter.
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the GLC which is made up of eight US states (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania) and two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec). The commission recommends and defends positions regarding Great Lakes resources.
The experimental project will not use county funds or H2Ohio money — intended for water conservation with the farming community — but will involve GLC money paid to the landowner, Miller said.
He said The Crescent News that the project could cost less than $20,000, a figure that will be split between the City of Defiance and the GLC, according to the city’s stormwater coordinator, Jen English. She has been involved in a number of city water quality projects.
Miller hopes the system will become operational this summer, as construction will await a more favorable time for ground conditions. Once work began, he said it would only take about a week to build.
The filter bed will have a plastic liner and will descend into the ground about five feet with a shallow topsoil – maybe a foot or two – but no farming will take place above it, he said. note. The goal is to treat 15% of the water that passes through the filtration area, Miller said.
The Zeedyks have agreed in the contract to maintain the filtration system for 10 years.
Although real-time monitoring is not possible, regular data retrievals are a hope for officials.
“They’re going to figure out…the best way to monitor,” Miller explained. “Hopefully it will be something that we can shoot every week or every month.”
The town of Defiance is particularly interested in the project as officials research ways to monitor water quality in the upper Maumee River watershed, which serves as the town’s raw water source. They looked for ways to improve water quality in the watershed to deal with nutrient loading in the river that complicates water treatment.
“We’re really focused on the idea of source water protection,” English said.
Nutrient loadings are also thought to contribute significantly to algal blooms in the watershed and Lake Erie.