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Water crisis spreads from Medina to include county

Beacon Journal staff report

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MEDINA: The recent deep freeze has created a water crisis for thousands of Northeast Ohio residents — including those living in the city of Medina — who rely on Lake Erie for water.

Customers of Avon Lake Municipal Utilities — Medina and a number of communities in Lorain and Cuyahoga counties — were alerted Wednesday to curtail water use. A state of emergency was declared in Lorain County.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the culprit is out on Lake Erie where the Avon Lake water system’s intake pipes have frozen over.

A Medina employee noticed Tuesday evening that the city’s water tanks were becoming low and suspected something was amiss, the mayor said.

Avon Lake announced Wednesday night that efforts to free the ice have been unsuccessful, and the utility made a desperate plea to all of its customers to use water only when absolutely necessary.

Water is to be used only for drinking, cooking, personal washing and flushing of toilets.

Industrial businesses in Medina were asked to curtail operations requiring water use to preserve supplies for human consumption and to hold a reserve of water for possible fire defense.

To ensure Medina did not run dry, as it sits at the end of the line of Avon Lake’s water service system, Medina County allowed the city to tap into its water supply. The Ohio EPA hastily approved the emergency hookup.

Because pressure dropped so low, however, the city has issued a boil alert for Medina residents.

Medina City Schools and the Medina County Joint Vocational School also will be closed today because of the water situation.

The added demand on the county’s system also prompted county officials to issue their own plea Wednesday night for customers to conserve water.

“During these emergency conditions, the Medina City Water Department has made temporary connections to the Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s water system,” the county said in a news release. “As such, we are asking Medina County water customers to limit water usage to ONLY drinking, cooking, personal washing and flushing of toilets.”


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