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Published: Friday, 7/15/2005

Large dairy negotiating for county waterline

GERALD, Ohio - A large dairy farm's need for more water has prompted Henry and Fulton counties to enter negotiations for buying and selling water.

Peters Dairy LLC, owned by Wilfred Peters, stands on Henry County Road 16 about half a mile south of the county line. The farm has about 670 cows, said Cecilia Conway, a partner with Vreba-Hoff Dairy Developments, a consulting firm that has worked with Mr. Peters on the water project.

Right now, the farm relies on wells and water trucked in from Wauseon's water treatment plant, Ms. Conway said. Mr. Peters would like to expand his herd, and a constant water supply would help make that happen, she said.

"They need the water to supply the cows," said Tim Schumm, planning director for the Henry County planning division.

To get the water from the treatment plant, which can produce 3 million gallons of water each day, pipes must be installed in the ground. That's where the government comes in.

Last week, the Fulton County commissioners approved two possible routes for the pipe; the preferred route would take the pipe along County Road AC, while the second would use an abandoned railroad track right-of-way, said Ziad Musallam, Fulton County sanitary engineer.

The Henry County Regional Water and Sewer District will consider the two routes at its next meeting, on July 25, Mr. Schumm said.

If approved, the line could cost as much as $800,000 to install, Mr. Schumm said. The dairy would be responsible for the cost, even though the water plant will technically sell the water to Henry County, which will then sell it to the farm and any others who live along the line and want to tap into it.

The dairy's proposed usage is about 30,000 gallons, Mr. Schumm said. The cost of the water itself will have to be negotiated with the city of Wauseon, Mr. Musallam said.

The water plant currently makes about 1.5 million gallons of water each day, Mr. Musallam said. It also sells water to Swan Creek Water District in Swan Creek Township.

Mr. Peters could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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