June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Medina asks for help to keep water flowing

Medina officials plan to use Medina County’s backup water system to avoid a repeat of last month’s water crisis.

On Jan. 7, the city’s water supply from Avon Lake Regional Water was interrupted when ice clogged the company’s intake pipes on Lake Erie, forcing Mayor Dennis Hanwell to issue a water conservation order Jan. 8 and a boil order that lasted through Jan. 10.

Since then, city officials have been investigating alternative sources of water in case service from Avon Lake is interrupted again.

At a meeting Tuesday, officials said they will connect the city water system to the county’s system, which uses water from Cleveland as a backup source.

Officials from Avon Lake also were at the meeting.

Avon Lake Executive Todd Danielson said the company is looking at ways to keep the intake pipes from freezing again or to bypass blocked pipes.

City officials say they can’t count on Avon Lake to prevent future problems.

“We don’t want to rely on someone else to solve this for us,” Hanwell said. “Most places don’t have a complete redundancy in their water system but it’s important enough to keep our hospital and our businesses running.”

The crisis in January left the hospital with limited water and forced Sandridge Food Corp. to halt production.

Sandridge co-owner Jim Meadows said the stoppage cost his company between $200,000 and $300,000 and may have resulted in the loss of future business.

“We have customers who are thinking about leaving us because we couldn’t provide their products to them,” he said. “We’re waiting to find out what Avon is planning and what the city’s plans are so we can make our plans.”

During the crisis, the city was allowed to temporarily connect to the county system.

City Engineer Patrick Patton announced at the Tuesday meeting that the city will make the connections permanent at three points: on East Smith Road, Lake Road and on the city’s north side.

Patton said the connection on the north side will be the primary source because it is closest to the county’s link with the Cleveland water system.

The three connections could produce up to 3.7 million gallons of water per day. Patton said the city has averaged about 3.1 million gallons per day for the past five years.

“With that, plus what we have in our tanks normally, we should be able to ride out a lot,” Patton said.

City Council is expected to pass a resolution authorizing the first two connections within a month. City officials haven’t determined the best location yet for the connection on the north side. Patton said there also are legal issues to resolve.

Medina County has a specific contract with the Cleveland that provides for the backup water. Patton said the city has asked Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman if a separate similar agreement is required.

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