The City of New Albany has withdrawn a request for a permit from Licking County to drill a test water well in Granville Township. 

That comes after Granville village and township officials said last week they would fight that step toward finding water to serve the future needs of the computer-chip manufacturing complex Intel is building in western Licking County.

“You will find that we have withdrawn our floodplain permit application,” New Albany City Engineer Ryan Ohly wrote in a letter to Licking County Planning Manager Brad Mercer. “We understand that there is much misinformation in the community, and we want to take time to collaborate with community members and leaders to ensure that our efforts are understood and that the regional goal of addressing water access is achieved for all of Licking County.”

Granville Township Trustee Bryn Bird said Monday that she was disappointed to see a reference to “misinformation,” because no one from the City of New Albany has provided information about its water development plans with anyone in township government.

“We will continue to move forward in a coordinated effort with the Village of Granville” to protect township resources, Bird said. “That’s a promising development that they would like to have conversations with Granville Township.”

Ohly wrote that New Albany officials “want the community to know that we are in the very beginning stages of this process. … By withdrawing the permit, it will allow us time to meet with stakeholders, hear and address concerns, and participate in the process already underway among various communities to achieve a comprehensive solution.”

He added that “we believe our experience can serve our neighbors well and look forward to more fully engaging in those discussions without the permit or testing hanging over us.”

Granville Village Manager Herb Koehler said he is “cautiously hopeful” about the signal that New Albany wants to be more transparent and inclusive in its planning for growth in Licking County, where its business park is located.

“I’m planning to reach out to New Albany about their effort to collaborate more fully on this,” Koehler said Monday. “And we’re hopeful that the language in the letter mirrors their intent moving forward.

“If they’re willing to do everything said in the letter, that’s great,” he said

New Albany officials said during the last week of January that in addition to the test well they’d like to drill in Granville Township, they also intend to seek a permit to drill a test well in the same aquifer a few miles to the north near Alexandria on land owned by Colleen Geiger, the same site where Shelly Materials wants to build and operate concrete- and asphalt-mixing plants.

Upon hearing that news, officials in Granville village and township repeated concerns about the potential daily extraction of millions of gallons of water from the aquifer, the same underground water supply that provides drinking water to Granville and Alexandria, which buys potable water from Granville.

New Albany had sent a letter during the last week of January to Mercer asking for a permit to drill a well on a portion of the 106 acres of farmland that Granville Township Trustee Dan VanNess sold to the New Albany Company late last year. The letter said engineers working for the City of New Albany wanted to conduct a test over 72 hours, drawing a total of 11 million gallons or more of water out of the ground and into Raccoon Creek.

Koehler said at the time that the village would ask the Licking County Planning and Development office to deny the permit New Albany seeks to drill a test well in the floodplain along Raccoon Creek, which flows through land above the aquifer and helps recharge Granville’s well field.

Alan Miller writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers.