By Mayor Jim Forthofer
Woollybear is uniquely Vermilion. It swells our population tenfold for one day every year. Some residents participate, some hunker down. Either way it is a tremendous shot in the arm for Vermilion’s image. While I was standing on the street Sunday, waiting for my part in the big show, no less than three out of towners came up to me and asked if a real estate office was open.They wanted to investigate property in this beautiful little town. (Note to realtors: Get a table at Woollybear next year.) The Vermilion Chamber of Commerce sponsors Woollybear. Sandy Coe, Executive Director, has annually managed this complex logistical operation and organized Ohio’s biggest one day festival without a visible glitch. It is remarkable.And, whether you are a Woollybear participant or not, the town owes a thank you to Sandy and the Chamber for another outstanding representation of Vermilion.
What’s going on with the water Pressure?
If you have city water,you have probably had low pressure recently. The low pressurewas due to scheduled maintenance of the water plant’s clear wells as required by the EPA. This maintenance was announced in the PhotoJournal and Council Minutes. The clear wells are the underground tanks where treated plant water is held prior to being launched into the water distribution system. We have three clear wells. The plant had to be shut down,the very deep clear wells drained, repaired as necessary, and inspected before operation could resume. It’s a tedious process. But, having our clear wells cleaned and inspected insures water quality for all of us.
Was there a water main break?
Not this time.
Why is the pressure low?
With the water treatment plant off line, the City switched to water supplied by our alternate sources the City of Lorain and Erie County. We do not get the same pressure from these sources as we do from our own local system. Thus, I have to shower in the basement to get enough water pressure.
Why did it take over a week?
Remember Mother’s Day? Last spring we had a water main break and boil alert on Mothers’ Day. Every restaurant in town had to bring in bottled water to operate on one of the busiest holidays of the restaurant calendar.We do not want a repeat. The clear wells repairs were actually done and inspections passed the Friday before Woollybear. When the water is turned back on, there is always the danger of popping a water line as the water tower refills and pressure normalizes. The WTP and Distribution personnel are extremely careful in coaxing water pressure back up to normal without overtaxing a line but there is always a chance a chance our old lines may give. To have that happen during Woollybear with 100,000 people in town would have been catastrophic. Service Director Valerius recommended we wait until Monday to resume plant operations. I support that decision.
Has the quality of our water been affected?
No. If anything, the quality of water has been insured because of this cleaning and sealing of the clear wells. Vermilion’s water plant produces 1.2 million gallons of EPA certified clean water every day. The plant has NEVER FAILED A WATER QUALITY TEST. Ever. Even during water main breaks. EPA requires that you be notified if we ever do fail a quality test.
Will our rates go up because of this?
No. Project costs come out of the City’s EPA fund. You paid for it with the $2 EPA fee on your water bill.
This project is part of the maintenance a city must do when it owns its own water plant. Water quality is the prime motivator behind everything. Later this year, as part of responsible city management, we will again review our water sourcing and alternatives as has been done in the past.