How the Milford Aquifer flows

| 30 Aug 2022 | 02:22

    To the editor:

    First, I would like to thank Milford Township and Milford Water Authority for allowing LVL developers to present their Mega Warehouse Distribution Center to the public. I heard LVL’s presentations 4 times. Plans appeared to be flawed and incomplete from the first presentation to the MWA on 6/13/22. I believe this made the Milford Township Planning Board’s decision to not recommend this project to the Milford Township Supervisors an easy one as LVL was not willing to do the needed studies to protect the Aquifer and Springs.

    LVL’s lawyer stated during the first presentation that there were “not so good wetlands” on the subject property. “The wetlands were to be used to infiltrate storm water and sewage into the groundwater”. I engaged the lawyer as the public was allowed to ask questions about the project. I informed him the Sawkill Creek is EV and would make the wetlands EV as well. He argued they are isolated and not connected to the Exceptional Value Sawkill Creek. That began the quest that led to the discovery of the Upper Springs of the Milford Aquifer!

    July 24, 2022 we performed our first “windshield” survey using the Applicants Plans and Exhibits of the subject and surrounding properties. We turned on Steele Lane located off of Rt. 6 on the SW corner of the subject property. We parked and got out of the car. As there was a pause in traffic noise we heard the sound of flowing water. Within the ditch between Rt. 6 and Steele Lane was clean water flowing under the road onto the subject property.

    Note that we are in an extended dry period with less than an inch of rain since our observations began. Further investigation led us upslope following the small stream. I pursued it walking along the highway and Gail followed the well-worn deer trails to a series of active springs in the middle of the “hillside”. Much to our surprise there was a cement springhouse discharging out a plastic pipe. We estimated the flow at more than a gallon/min and had a temperature of 55 degrees indicating ground water coming to the surface. Gail and I actually poured ourselves a glass out of the spring and drank out of! We had discovered the Upper Springs of the Milford Aquifer. This is the genesis of the stream flowing on to the subject property. We then wandered through the sheds that are for sale on the property. Along the bottom of the hillside the area remained wet just off the grassy area where the sheds were located. The wetland with spring areas continued north towards a “possible isolated wetland” and pond location.

    Our windshield survey continued up to the top of Buist Road. The extensive wetland complex continues North towards Rt. 6 where it discharges onto the subject property into the “Marshy Wetland”. There is a large culvert pipe installed during Rt. 6 construction connecting the wetlands along both sides of the highway. During the planning board meeting the presenter admitted the down slope wetlands were in fact EV.

    The applicant’s plan is using the wetlands on the subject property to infiltrate storm water and sewage discharge into the groundwater. The marshy wetland discharges into a “watercourse” identified on the applicants plans. This watercourse was cut off and obstructed during construction of Victory Drive. The wetland that remains on the East side of Victory Drive drains directly into the EV Sawkill Creek. Victory Drive had obstructed the flow of the watercourse or otherwise it would still flow directly into the EV Sawkill Creek. At the bottom of the hill we observed a flowing stream that flowed under Victory Drive towards the Sawkill Creek connecting with the wetlands on the east side of Victory Drive.

    The small tributary originates at the bottom of the hillside on the east end of the subject property through a series of springs. Random sampling over the past month resulted in temperature readings between 57-59 degrees F. a sign ground water flowing off the subject property is contributing to the base flow of the Sawkill Creek. Pressures deep underground force water up through the sand and gravel subsurface into the “unconfined aquifer”. The proposed Mega Warehouse with 850,000 sq ft. of impervious surfaces sits right in the middle of the Upper Springs of the Milford Aquifer where groundwater is very shallow often coming to the surface.

    I hope our Community Leaders and Stake Holders can use this opportunity to finally work together to permanently protect this extremely sensitive property containing the Upper Springs of the Milford Aquifer.

    Joe Zenes/Gail Lamb-Doto

    Pike County Citizens