CLEVELAND -- Beach-goers remain on high alert on Cleveland's east side after sky-rocketing bacteria levels continue to be registered. The beaches at Euclid State Park along with Villa Angela State Park have been at the contamination advisory level since Memorial Day and continued through Wednesday.
"It's outrageous," said Ward 8 Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek, who's been baffled by the numbers for quite a while. "To have pollution levels that are on the same level as some third-world countries, at times, is unacceptable."
Now, officials from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) may have pinpointed the problem. Their investigation led them to the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Community where they discovered a major problem with the underground sewer line. They found a damaged pipe that carries human and and other raw sewage to the storm sewer.
"We have a sanitary pipe that's flowing through a storm sewer and it's above the storm sewer, but there's a hole in the pipe," explained NEORSD Supervisor John Rhoades.
"If that sanitary line gets blocked or if it rains, the sanitary flow can surcharge back up the pipe and overflow in the storm sewer which enter's Lake Erie off East 156th Street."
Upon further review, crews found that the pipe was improperly connected and turned all of their findings over to the the City of Cleveland's Division of Water Pollution.
In a letter obtained exclusively by Channel 3 News, Commissioner Rachid Zoghaib contacted the property owner, James Moore of Irvin, TX and notified him that he is violation of city rules. In the letter Zoghaib dated July 14 he said in part:
This matter came to my attention after a sewer investigation conducted by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. NEORSD's investigation, which included a series oof dye tests of the collection system for the trailer park on the Subject Property, revealed a failure of the sewer collection system. The investigation, which included observations by several inspectors, revealed that an open clay pipe originating from the Subject Property carrying sanitary sewage is discharging into a storm sewer located near the intersection of Lincoln Drive & Sycamore Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Under wet weather conditions, this open confuration results in an overflow of sanitary sewage to the environmet including Euclid and Villa Angela Beaches and Lake Erie, creating detrimental conditions within the area and potentially posing a health threat at those beaches.
"It can be very serious, it can pollute the water that we all drink out in Lake Erie, and people who are swimming can become sick from the sanitary contamination to the water itself," Rhoades added.
A man who identifed himself as "property manager" discussed the situation with sewer officials. "So you need us to close that up right" said the man. After confirmed from Rhoades and Manager Scott Broski, he was heard saying, "OK we'll take care of that."
Moore has two days to submit a plan to city authorities to fix the problem. Then the owner will be expected to make repairs soon or face further legal action or have the trailer park's water shut off.
Follow The Investigator Tom Meyer on Twitter: @TomMeyerWKYC