July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain Council approves Martins Run flood study

LORAIN — Keeping residents’ water clean and out of their basements are the goals of initiatives Council approved Monday night.

Jim Szeto, left, of Ashland Avenue in Lorain, talks with Councilman Bret Schuster,  D-4th Ward, at Martin’s Run Creek on Saturday. Szeto’s home borders Martin’s Run, which is a flood-prone area. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Jim Szeto, left, of Ashland Avenue in Lorain, talks with Councilman Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, at Martin’s Run Creek on Saturday. Szeto’s home borders Martin’s Run, which is a flood-prone area. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Council approved a $300,000 flood prevention study for Martins Run Creek, a chronically flooded area, much of which affects the 4th Ward. The study will be done by CT Consultants, an Ohio-based municipal engineering firm. The preliminary cost of the first phase of the construction cost is estimated to be about $2 million.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” Councilman Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, said. “The whole city’s being impacted.”

The Council also approved putting out a bid for a drainage study to reduce flooding in the Orchard Hills subdivision. The city is seeking an engineering firm to do the work because of understaffing in the engineering department, according to an April 28 letter from Service Director Robert Gilchrist to Mayor Tony Krasienko.

Seeking to prevent water quality problems at the water treatment plant, the Council waived bidding requirements to spend up to $50,000 on bags and equipment to handle sludge at the plant. Gilchrist said human error led to turbidity problems at the plant on April 9 and 10, not a lack of equipment. The EPA did not issue a boil advisory because it wasn’t notified within the required 24-hour period.

Gilchrist fired James Miller, water plant assistant superintendent. Utilities Director Corey Timko was suspended for 30 days and Mark Petrie, lead operator for purification, was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

The three men are appealing the discipline. Gilchrist said the three remain off the job and their fates have not been decided.

In an unrelated matter, Council unanimously voted to express disapproval about the possible sale or leasing of the Ohio Turnpike by the Kasich administration.

While the vote was symbolic, Schuster said it was important to raise the issue because of the possible loss of jobs and toll increases if the Turnpike is leased or sold.

“I really, overall don’t think it’s in our best interests,” Schuster said. “The Ohio Turnpike is in great shape. It’s been well maintained.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.