Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Water: The Unsung Hero of Health

As I am sitting in a chair, having iodine placed on my arm, preparing to donate blood, I am reminded of the inextricable link between water utilities and public health. Just as the iodine swabbed on my arm prevents infection, so does the chlorine we add to drinking water. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) named the chlorination of drinking water one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century? Typhoid and cholera are now virtually non-existent in the United States due this fact. Fluoridation of drinking water also rated inclusion in that ten-greatest list. Water utilities are responsible for one-fifth of the list. That’s a powerful illustration of how water and good health are inextricably linked.

In the spirit of these life-saving water-utility pioneers, Avon Lake Regional Water will be undertaking several projects this year to better protect your health by improving the way we protect your water supply and your lake.

First, we are working to expand the amount of water we can access for you. We are doing this two ways. One is a drinking water storage project that will provide five million gallons of additional drinking water to have on hand for emergencies. The other is an interconnection with a neighboring water system that will give each water utility access to the other’s water in times of need. Expanding our emergency water supply is an important safeguard. Not having water at your house for a small amount of time may seem like a huge inconvenience, but just consider the impact of a water outage on hospitals, fire hydrants, and those with medical conditions requiring handwashing or sterilization. Continuous water is a necessity for them. No one can predict the future, and this project will put us in position to handle extreme water needs in a wide variety of scenarios.

Second, we are undertaking multiple water line replacement projects this year. Replacing aging lines subject to breakage means a more reliable water supply (we have to shut down water service to your home during the process of repairing your water main). Moreover, one water line project this year will restore the capacity of the water line, allowing a much-improved flow for fire-fighting purposes.

Third, we will be starting a rehabilitation project at our wastewater treatment plant. The rehabilitation will both reduce the amount of water that bypasses our plant during wet-weather conditions and improve the level of treatment of water flowing through the plant. This, in turn, will improve the quality of water we discharge into Lake Erie, therefore better protecting you when you want to enjoy the lake.

Finally, we have begun planning the next combined sewer separation, which will be in the Fairfield-Brookfield area, breaking ground in 2016. Once this project is completed (2017), the quality of water in Heider Creek should improve, eventually helping to improve water quality at Veterans Park Beach—Avon Lake's beach that typically has higher bacteria counts after rain events.

As always, we are undertaking these projects to better serve you and ask for your patience if you are ever inconvenienced by them. We hope you agree a reliable water supply (including a healthy lake) is worth investing in.

Avon Lake Regional Water is your water and wastewater service provider. Questions/comments? Contact us via phone (440-933-6226), email (contact@avonlakewater.org), social media (Facebook: /avonlakewater, Twitter @avonlakewater, and now Instagram), or in person (201 Miller Road). You can also learn more by watching our semi-monthly Board Recap show on ALC-TV’s government channel (Time Warner 12 or WOW! 21) or logging on to avonlake.pegcentral.com to see recap shows or Board meetings.

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