CUYAHOGA FALLS: The call started out as routine.
Two city workers responded to a report of flooding at Highpoint Road and Marian Lake Boulevard.
What they discovered lurking in the sewer became the stuff of local legend, though.
A huge snapping turtle was wedged in the storm sewer, causing water to back up.
Water Distribution Manager Fred Williams dispatched workers Bob Weston and Dana Zintec to check out the problem around 9 a.m. Monday.
The workers thought the problem was clogged leaves or other debris so they used a jet spray that delivers about 2,000 pounds of pressure to force loose whatever was blocking the sewer.
“Once it hits an obstruction, it starts pulsating,” Williams said.
When the men pulled the reel and hose back out, the turtle came with it, Williams said. It was the size of a car tire.
“I don’t know how he could have gotten stuck in a 12-inch storm sewer,” he said.
Williams said city workers did some sleuthing on the Internet to determine how to properly handle the turtle and ensure it could survive being released back into the wild.
The first order of business, Williams said, was to hoist the heavy turtle out of the sewer and onto the back of a city truck.
“He took a little bit of a beating from [our sewer clearing device],” Williams said.
“He survived, but he wasn’t very happy.”
City workers transported the turtle to a field near the Cuyahoga River at the city’s Waterworks Park, where it was released.
“He walked over to the river, slid on in, and started swimming,” Williams said. “He’s probably telling all the other turtles about the hurricane he survived.”
Williams said the workers have saved ducklings, kittens and other small animals from sewers, but this was their first turtle rescue.
He said the crew was glad to save the turtle and move it to a safer home.
“It makes you feel good to do something like that,” Williams said.