April 21, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
47°F

Update: Medina boil alert lifted

MEDINA – Medina’s boil alert was canceled today about 6:30 p.m. after test results showed no contamination.

Residents were advised to boil their water before drinking or cooking Wednesday after the intake pipes in Avon Lake that draw water from Lake Erie froze shut.

City Service Director Nino Picolli said that this was the closest the city has ever been to running completely 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.”

Piccoli said at one point during the water shortage the two main five million-gallon tanks were completely empty.

The city’s tanks are capable of holding around 12 million gallons of water at a time.

On a regular 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 conservancy efforts underway.

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 11:00 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., effectively lifting the restrictions but leaving the boil alert in tact.

Piccoli said after the restrictions were lifted, the water in the tanks returned to a normal level rapidly.

On a regular winter day, the city consumes above three million gallons of water. Usage dropped to two million during the shortage.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell thanked residents and businesses in a Thursday press release for their efforts in helping to conserve the limited water for the past two days.

The city supplied its own water from a well in Lake Medina from 1917 until 2002, before turning to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities after it was estimated repairs to the water treatment facility on Granger Road would total close to $20 million.

The alternative was to tap into the consortium of Avon Lake which already supplied most of Lorain County with water from Lake Erie.

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or adavis@medina-gazette.com.