August 28, 2014

Elyria
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Utilities workers believe landscaper stealing water is responsible for rash of water main breaks in Lorain

LORAIN — A landscaping company is accused of leaving the city high and dry.

Down to Earth Landscaping caused about $10,500 worth of damage to the hydrants and water pipes by taking city water from fire hydrants, according to Utilities Director Corey Timko. The damage may have caused recent water main breaks around the city.

“They basically closed the hydrants so fast that they broke some of the main lines,” Timko said Tuesday. “We’re going to bill them for repairing those lines.”

Down to Earth truck drivers, whose trucks have 500-gallon water tanks, were spotted filling them at city hydrants twice on Saturday by Kenneth Keniesel, a utilities department distribution supervisor, according to police Officer Ryan Vrooman’s incident report. Dennis Pihlblad, a department distribution supervisor, called police at 11:20 p.m. Monday to file a complaint blaming a few water main breaks on the damage.

Timko said Down to Earth did not have permits to use the hydrants, but obtained them on Tuesday after the complaint. Timko said city workers catch companies stealing from hydrants once or twice per year.

Down to Earth Landscaping did not return a message left this morning.