Lorain County | State of emergency declared due to water shortage

UPDATE | Shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, water restrictions in Avon Lake were lifted. Read the updated information HERE: http://on.wkyc.com/1hyHxoJ.


FORMER STORY posted Wednesday evening:

A state of emergency has been declared in Lorain County as communities deal with a water shortage.

Due to frozen water intakes in Lake Erie, residents in Avon Lake and communities that use its water have been told to conserve water.

That includes customers in Medina, Avon Lake, Avon, North Ridgeville, Sheffield and Sheffield Lake and users served by the Rural Lorain County Water Authority.

The authority delivers water to LaGrange, Grafton, Grafton Township, Penfield Township, Henrietta Township, Carlisle Tonwship, Pittsfield Township and Camden Township.

Doug Dever, public information officer for the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency, said the state of emergency was declared as a precaution to free up resources from around the state should they be necessary. The National Guard is on standby to bring in water tanks and distribute bottled water.

Avon Mayor Bryan K. Jensen told Channel 3's Tom Beres late Wednesday afternoon that their water supplier told him that it's possible that the city will lose all of its water by later tonight.

Jensen tells Channel 3's Chris Tye that he has notified local hospitals and emergency rooms -- the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center and EMH Avon Health Campus -- that they may only get a four-hour window of notification before the water is completely out.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, all patient appointments at its three locations in Avon and Avon Lake have been canceled through 10 a.m. Thursday. The Avon Pointe Family Health Center will be closed Thursday and Friday. The emergency room at the Jacobs facility will remain open, and surgeries and procedures there will be moved or rescheduled.

Jensen said his is the first city to make such a notification. The Fire Department also has a water tanker on stand-by. Avon gets its water solely from the Avon Lake system. Some cities supplied by the Avon lake system also get water from other sources.

Until tanks are replenished and pressure is restored, customers are being asked to limit water to drinking, cooking, personal hygiene and toilet flushing.

Avon Lake's crews are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

The city of Cleveland's water system is using its emergency water connections to supply water to Medina County, where the city of Medina is under a boil alert until further notice. Cleveland is also setting up a temporary connection with North Ridgeville and has indicated it may be able to help other municipalities.

Cleveland Water has the capacity to help in this situation because it has multiple water intake points and back-ups built into the system.

Ironically , the disruption is occurring on the same day of a court hearing dealing with issues surrounding Westlake's possible switch from Cleveland's system to Avon Lake's system.

Westlake is seeking a court order to stop Cleveland from sending Westlake customers higher bills to cover what Cleveland claims are the additional costs it will incur to change hookups to other communities if Westlake switches.


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