Avon Lake Water Department moving to avoid future problems

$23M water supply project leaves gaping hole

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - Frigid temperatures two years ago created something known as "frazzle ice" at the Avon Lake Water treatment plant. It is a kind of slush that clogged intake pipes at the plant.  The flow slowed, but never stopped, but people were urged not to use water. Emergency measures were taken, with massive portable pumps sucking water from pipes laid over the ice and placed through holes chopped in the ice.  It was a heroic effort, and it worked.  It was a close call, one no one wants to repeat.

Water Department Chief Todd Danielson described the project on a site tour, saying, "Right behind us are now clear wells, which is basically storage of finished water ready to go out to our customers."

It is a project that is hard to ignore.  A gaping hole in the ground right across the street from the water plant.  Twenty feet deep, if the space held school buses instead of water, 143 of them would fit. The project will take 16,000 tons of concrete and 750 tons of rebar or 1.5 million pounds.  It has a price tag of $23 million.

To give you some idea of the scope of the project, it's been going on for months and won't be completed until a year from this spring.  When it is done three million gallons of water will be stored here.  That is double what the utility can store currently at the water plant according to Danielson

"This helps us to insure reliability, whether it's an issue such as ice, or the algae issues that we are seeing. Now granted we're already treating it right now but just in case we're trying to be ready," he said. 

While having to watch water usage in your home can be aggravating, an interrupted supply at hospitals could be deadly, and to businesses and workers costly. It's also devastating to fire departments.

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