‘Perfect storm’ pushes village water use to limit

By Jonathan Delozier - jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com

The confluence of immense water usage due to this past weekend’s factory fire, a main break on Pleasant Street, and the LaGrange Engine Show at the Lorain County Fairgrounds was called a “perfect storm” by water superintendent Mark Rosemark.

From Friday to Monday, water department meters read just over two million gallons of water use for the entire village, which Rosemark said is about 500,000 gallons what was expected going into the weekend.

He said those numbers could still be below the actual amount of water used.

That’s because they don’t reflect the “drawdown” in the village storage tanks, which is the amount of usable water that can come out between pump cycles.

“I can tell you our tank levels were the lowest they’ve been since we built them,” said Rosemark. “When we first talked about replacing the ground storage tank, the question was asked if we really needed a tank that large and this much water in our system. That question has just been answered.”

He said village pumps have been running nonstop since the factory fire call came in Sunday morning — a drastic increase from normal 11- to 12-hour cycles this time of the year.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends communities keep at least a one-day supply of reserve treated water.

Rosemark said Wellington keeps about 1.1 million extra gallons, which amounts to more than a two-day supply.

“Had it not been for that 300,000 gallons, we would’ve had to contact the (Rural Lorain County Ohio Water Authority),” he said. “That alone, though, would not have kept us from depressurizing. We try to be proactive in identifying our vulnerabilities. We met out demand in this instance but we were very close. We’re still catching up and not up to our normal level yet.”

“We need to add additional treatment capacity at our plant,” he said. “This situation highlights why this additional capacity is needed. We managed to keep up but that’s about all we accomplished. We didn’t replenish the supply in the tanks until last night and this morning.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier