July 28, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
64°F

Water problems have city officials looking at ways to secure supply

Water for the city of Medina is stored in four municipal tanks: From left, on the west side of state Route 3, near the city’s southern limits; on the south side of Progress Drive, west of State Road; on the east side of Lake Road, just south of Lafayette Road; and on the south side of Koons Avenue, west of South Court Street.

Water for the city of Medina is stored in this tank on the south side of Progress Drive, west of State Road. It is one of four municipal tanks. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAVID KNOX)

After Medina came close to running out of water earlier this month, city officials have been working to come up with a backup source of water.

On Jan. 7, the city’s water supply from Avon Lake Municipal Utilities was interrupted due to the cold weather and ice on Lake Erie.

As a result, Mayor Dennis Hanwell issued a water conservation order Jan. 8 and a boil order that lasted through Jan. 10.

Water for the city of Medina is stored in four municipal tanks: From left, on the west side of state Route 3, near the city’s southern limits

Pictured is the second of four water tanks supplying the city of Medina. This one looms over the west side of state Route 3, near the city’s southern limits. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAVID KNOX)

Hanwell said city Engineer Pat Patton and his staff are working on possible alternative sources of water should the supply from Avon Lake be interrupted again.

“We really have three options, and that’s what we are researching,” Hanwell said.

The mayor said the first two options are tying into the Medina County water system with either temporary above-ground or, more permanent, underground links.

The county system, which gets most of its water from Avon Lake, already has a backup supply because it can also draw on water from Lake Erie through two interconnections with the Cleveland water system.

During the crisis, the city used fire trucks to pump water from the county system to keep the city’s four water tanks from running dry.

Equipment was brought in to create three above-ground connections between county and city hydrants.

One of those connections went across a private driveway on East Smith Road, while another crossed Lake Road.

Gravel and tar were used as a temporary ramp for traffic to drive over the hoses.

“That’s a challenge. If it’s underground, you don’t have that issue,” said Hanwell.

The third connection was run alongside North Court Street, just north of the Sears plaza.

Hanwell said the city is investigating the cost of keeping above-ground equipment on hand, as well as the expense of installing underground connections.

The mayor added that tying into the county system would be mutually beneficial: If there should ever be a shortage in the county system, the city would be able to provide a backup.

Hanwell said the third option would be to pump water from Lake Medina, which was the city’s sole source of water until July 2002 when the switch was made to Lake Erie.

“The third option is to try to price a mini-water treatment facility to have on hand or the ability (to) rent one on short notice that we could use at Lake Medina,” Hanwell said.

“We are reviewing all three of those currently for the costs, benefits and limitations and will be making a recommendation to Council.”.

Service Director Nino Piccoli voiced doubt about using Lake Medina because the cost would be prohibitive.

“We are looking at the cost of a mini pump station, but it sounds like the cost would be exorbitant,” Piccoli said.

In the meantime, Patton and Piccoli have been invited to a meeting today with Avon Lake water officials to discuss what happened and how to prevent it in the future.

Hanwell said Avon Lake is investigating the options of creating a second intake pipe or installing aeration or heating system to prevent ice from building up.

Contact report Pamela J. Miller at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.