By Karen Cornelius
Vermilion City Council met on Monday, May 15, and members were told by service director Tony Valerius that the city’s water plant would close down temporarily for three days to clean its clearwell #2, and other sources will be used for customers.
The service director stated that clearwell #1 at the water plant was cleaned last week, and clearwell #2 wil be cleaned starting Tuesday, May 16. “During the cleaning of clearwell #2, the plant will have to be shut down and the city will be receiving its water from the city of Lorain and Erie County,” said Valerius. He said after the cleaning, the tank will be disinfected, and then both clearwells will be videoed so that a structural analysis can be performed.
Councilman Jim Forthofer asked if there will be any changes in the water for residents, such as the quality. Service director Valerius responded that there would be no change in water quality, but there could be some reduced water pressure. He thought the cleaning would just be three days, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Councilwoman Barb Brady asked if there would be a boil alert issued after the process was complete and the city’s water returned. Valerius answered that there should not be any boil alert.
Earlier in the year, the EPA noted that clearwells #1 and #2 are original to the 1903 water plant and are located under the existing filters. The EPA wanted better structural records to indicate that either clearwell is physically intact and will not interfere with the quality of water produced. It was said by the EPA that failure in either one of the clearwells could lead to unsafe water being produced or no water being available for the customers. To comply the clearwells are being cleaned and videoed.
At the Photojournal deadline on Tuesday, May 16, the city sent an alert text in the afternoon notifying residents of the temporary shutdown for maintenance. At that time, the city asked residents to conserve water such as taking showers which was not mentioned on Monday night at city council. Early reactions were surprise by the lack of an earlier warning so people and businesses could be prepared.