October 24, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
52°F

Waste deep: Sewer overflow closes beach

GLORIA GLENS PARK — Wednesday’s heavy rains overflowed sewer lines, which sent raw sewage into Chippewa Lake.

Medina County Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski warned residents of the two villages bordering the lake — Gloria Glens Park and Chippewa Lake — not to swim or walk on the beach.

“I do strongly urge the residents from both areas to follow the notices from the villages,” Wasowski said.

Chippewa Mayor Joanne Dodaro said no warning signs have been posted, but the beaches effectively are closed because the shoreline is flooded and covered with storm debris.

But the mayor added that she did not know about the sewage contamination until told by a Gazette reporter.

Gloria Glens officials could not be reached for comment Friday. But an angry resident, who asked that her name not be used, said no signs were posted along the lakeshore in her village either.

The woman said the playground near the beach partially was flooded Thursday and her children were playing waist-deep in the water.

“There’s no way I would have taken them down there had I known” about the sewage contamination,” she said.

Dodaro downplayed the health hazard.

“We have in the past tested the water after storms,” she said. “And right after, the water isn’t very pleasant. But after a couple of days, it cleans itself out pretty quickly.”

Wasowski said Gloria Glens also has water-testing protocols in place to ensure water safety.

The Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s Office reported the problem to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday.

“It tends to recover fairly quickly just because of the sheer volume of rainwater that’s mixed with the sewage — but obviously it’s not something we like to see,” Ohio EPA spokesman Mike Settles said.

County Sanitary Engineer Jim Troike said the torrential rains accompanying the thunderstorms overflowed the sanitary sewer lines and breached at least two manhole covers, contaminating storm sewers.

“It’s certainly got wastewater in it,” he said. “Whether it was directly from surface water getting into the manholes or leaking into joints of pipes, I can’t say for certain.

“But it’s probably a combination of both.”

Troike said the pump station near the old Chippewa Lake Amusement Park grounds diverts waste and storm water from the area to a wastewater processing plant on Kennard Road. That plant discharges into Buck Creek.

He said the pump station usually runs one pump at a time and only processes about 500,000 gallons of water a day. But since Wednesday, the station has been running all three pumps and has been unable to keep up with the roughly

1.3 million gallons going through it.

Troike said the sewer pipes themselves are in good condition but that the joints between the pipes are loose and allow surface water to breach the lines.

The high volume of water coming downhill to the beach overloaded the pipes Wednesday, he said.

He said the county has been working since the 1990s to replace the old lines and systems to bring them into compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1977. While many lines have been replaced and faulty pipes sealed, Troike said much work remains to be done.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.