Water Shortage: Conservation Orders, Boil Alert

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Thousands of Northeast Ohio residents were told to use as little water as possible during a water shortage.

The problem impacted area businesses, schools and health services.


Wednesday evening, Avon residents were asked to stop using water entirely.

According to Mayor Bryan Jensen, the city's water supply was at a critically low point.

"We are telling Avon residents not to use any water if possible, only in extreme cases," Jensen said.

Some Avon businesses closed early Wednesday evening.

"Most everybody is closing down as much as possible. I think the restaurants are still in operation at this point. If we go to the final extreme, in terms where Avon Lake completely shuts us off, we will have to try to close everyone down that we possibly can," Jensen said.


The problem began when an intake system that brings water from Lake Erie into the Avon Lake Water Filtration plant froze up Tuesday night.

Crews spent all day Wednesday trying to thaw the pipes.

People in Avon Lake were asked to only use water for essential tasks like washing hands, cooking and necessary toilet flushing.

The Avon Lake water plant also provides water for Avon, North Ridgeville, Sheffield Village, Sheffield Lake, Medina County, the city of Medina and rural parts of Lorain County.

Those areas were asked to conserve water.

The Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security also asked the following areas to only use water if necessary -- for hygiene and drinking:

Grafton, Kipton, LaGrange, Rochester, Brighton Township, Brownhelm Township, Camden Township, Carlisle Township, Columbia Township, Eaton Township, Grafton Township, Henrietta Township, Huntington Township, LaGrage Township, New Russia Township, Penfield Township, Pittsfield Township and Rochester Township.

Water levels in those areas were considered "critically low" as well.


The city of Medina issued a boil alert because of low water pressure.  Residents were advised to boil tap water for one minute before drinking.

The boil alert will remain in effect until further notice.

Medina City Schools canceled classes for Thursday because of the water shortage.


The water shortage also impacted services at the Cleveland Clinic.

CLICK HERE for a list of changes in effect for Thursday, Jan. 9.


Lorain County declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening, which will allow the county to access additional state resources.

The state of emergency also allows Lorain County to cooperate with other local counties and communities throughout Ohio.

"Last night with how cold it was, the water was cooling very quickly and forming this slush-like material that was reducing the capabilities or the ability of our intake to draw the amount of water in that we need," said Todd Danielson, chief utilities executive for the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

"The levels in our water tanks as we saw on the screens there, are all depleting rapidly and we're not getting any water to replenish them as we normally would," said Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.

Hanwell says the city usually refills its water tanks just before midnight, but the problem at the Avon Lake plant happened just after 11 p.m., when the tanks were at their lowest levels.

The city reached out to the Medina County engineer's office to use water from their tanks, which are full because they are also tapped into Cleveland's water system.

"So they were able to open that valve, keep their systems replenished and what we're doing is tying in two different locations," said Hanwell.

"If you can hold off washing your clothes from today to tomorrow or the next day, that would be a great help, or if you thought about taking a bath, maybe take a shower instead," said Danielson.


The city of Cleveland tells Fox 8 that it does not expect to have any problems with its system.  They say the intake pipes are located so deep in the lake that they will not freeze.

They have promised to help the Avon Lake water plant in any way they can.  In fact, they have opened two emergency meters in the Brunswick area to provide a thousand gallons of water per minute to Medina County.


    • MIkey

      One does not “need” to take a shower. It is just something that we “ought” to do regularly.
      The real question is what would happen if everyone took a shower, the water ran out, and THEN there was a fire, but no water at the hydrant to put it out?
      What would we do THEN?

      • Lester

        They probably won’t use hydrants in Avon. They’ll use fire tankers to bring water to the scene. Most of the counties (countryside) doesn’t have hydrants, and it’s how they fight fires (if they need more than the fire truck carries). The tankers would have to fill from hydrants at a supply that is not affected, like Lorain, etc.

    • Nikki

      Hey Pitter, can you read? “The Avon Lake water plant also provides water for Avon, North Ridgeville, Sheffield Village, Sheffield Lake, Medina County, the city of Medina and rural parts of Lorain County.” See that word rural? That means outside the city limits. No fire hydrants. Before you get snotty on someone else’s statement, at least make sure you know what you’re talking about. Maybe you should get out more…

  • Jack

    When dad converted to the rural water system, he kept his well working for the outside facets, toilets and laundry despite the system wanting all wells to be plugged and disconnected. All he has to do is close the valve for rural water and open the well connection and the whole house is back on well water. Smart. Have to plan ahead. Of course most people do not have wells anymore that can function as a backup water source.

  • Gilberto Gill

    Not to mention that the EMH clinic plans to open due financial need and medical personnel are instructed not to wash their hands but to foam up. Really….that foam kills bacteria but does not clean any soil. It is obvious that now a day we are all just numbers at the hospital not people in need of medical service

  • raye

    It would have been nice if earlier on the news they mentioned more than Avon, Avon Lake, and Medina. Many of us in Sheffield Lake thought our water came from lorain.

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