Five additional test wells are to be added this year for improved monitoring at the St. Marys Landfill.
The investigative wells were recommended by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for improved monitoring at the site. The cost for adding the wells is approximately $45,000.
“It was suggested by the EPA and we want to make sure residents are not affected by anything negatively there,” Auglaize County Administrator Mike Hensley said.
He said they expect the process of monitoring the former landfill site to be long term.
“It is not something that is going to go away overnight,” Hensley said of the county’s responsibility for environmental monitoring.
Tax assessments on county property owners is used to pay monitoring costs.
The five additional monitoring wells will bring the total number of wells at the site to 19. Testing those wells costs approximately $135,000 a year.
Auglaize County Solid Waste Coordinator Dave Reichelderfer said the new wells are expected to test pockets that according to EPA studies may not be getting tested.
“Most of the wells are in groups, the new ones would be put beside existing wells,” Reichelderfer said.
He said each grouping attempts to test three different levels of water and prevent any voids.
“Most of the places there are clusters of three wells at each site to obtain data at the different water levels,” Reichelderfer said. “From all the testing they have done, they don’t think the levels are interconnected anywhere.”
Most of the wells at the landfill were put in place in the early 1990s. Three more were added in 2010.
A majority of the wells are on the north and east side of the landfill, which is nearest the St. Marys River and the direction of flow of water. They test the water from the landfill to the river.
A couple wells also are in place to test water before it reaches the landfill.
The older wells are checked twice a year, while the newer ones being added are to be checked four times a year to help set a baseline of what the water there would normally be to compare it to how it might change.
A couple of the earlier wells are dry and Reichelderfer said he is hopeful that at some point those wells will no longer require testing.
“The groundwater monitoring and closure goes for 30 years,” Reichelderfer said. “Nowhere in the state has reached that point. We pretty well feel that it will be extended beyond the 30 years and go on indefinitely.”