MEDINA — Medina’s boil alert was canceled at about 6:30 p.m. Friday after test results showed no contamination. Residents had been advised to boil their water before drinking or cooking since Wednesday after the intake pipes that draw water from Lake Erie froze shut.
City Service Director Nino Piccoli said this was the closest the city has ever been to running out of water in at least 13 years.
“The county has never experienced something like this — never to the point where we were going to run out of water,” he said. “If people would have used like they normally would, we would have ran out.”
On a typical day, the city is able to replenish the water tanks in three to four hours, usually in the early hours of the morning when usage is down.
The process took twice as long Thursday — even with conservation efforts under way. Avon Lake, the city’s water supplier, informed Medina officials late Tuesday that the water intake pipes in Lake Erie were frozen shut.
Crews worked through the night Wednesday and Thursday to break up the slush-like ice that was blocking the intake pipes.
Workers in Avon Lake successfully broke through the ice around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, returning service to Medina around 11 a.m. The city struggled to get the tanks above the halfway mark — which was required to lift the usage restrictions — and wasn’t able to do so until 6 p.m. Thursday, effectively lifting the restrictions but leaving the boil alert intact. Piccoli said after the restrictions were lifted, the water in the tanks returned to a normal level rapidly.
The city typically uses more than 3 million gallons of water a day during the winter. Usage dropped to 2 million during the shortage. Mayor Dennis Hanwell thanked residents and businesses in a Thursday news release for their efforts in helping to conserve water for the past two days.
From 1917 until 2002, the city received water from Lake Medina. It turned to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities after it was estimated repairs to the water treatment facility on Granger Road in Medina Township would total close to $20 million.
Avon Lake Municipal Utilities also supplies most of Lorain County with water from Lake Erie.
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.