Records show no one noticed for about two and a half hours. So, we investigated how a security breach went undetected at a plant pumping your water.
It happened last month at the Fairmount Pumping Station for Cleveland Water. The video and other records were just released to the I-Team.
Security video shows a driver plow through the gate, sit there for 8 minutes, then take off.
But, we found utilities police had no idea someone had crashed a security gate. Records show the damage not found for nearly two and a half hours.
The pumping station is part of the system for drinking water in the city and suburbs.
So, what about the security failure?
We reviewed reports from officers paid to keep your water safe. The records show the gate getting crashed about 7:30 p.m. An officer saw the damage on routine patrol at 10 p.m.
The reports also refer to a camera that had been “malfunctioning” for weeks.
Yet, check out the response from Cleveland Water:
“Water plants are a critical infrastructure that require the highest level of security. Cleveland Water has multiple systems in place to monitor activity at all locations, including, but not limited to electronic surveillance and security officers assigned to monitor and patrol. These systems also include sensitive thermal imaging devices which performed as expected on the night of July 15 when a vehicle broke through a Fairmount Pumping Station gate.
“An officer on foot patrol discovered the damaged gate shortly after the incident and quickly reported it. We then deployed a security detail to monitor the entrance. As mentioned on the log sheet for that day, there was a slight delay thereafter to download images due to an unusually slow signal, but it is not indicative of a system malfunction.”
Despite that, Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin reacted and he has questions.
“Our water supply is extremely important,” he said. “We have those security measures in place to protect what we think is a vital asset in the city. Of course, we’ll be trying to check in with the utilities department to see where the breakdown took place.”
We also showed the video to some of your neighbors and explained the delay in noticing what had happened.
“Where is the security guard? Then, when you go in and look, you’ve got cameras. Somebody’s got to be held accountable,” Myron Rivers said.
“That’s a really long time to not realize that that happened,” Alix Wilson said.
Consider all you’ve done in the last two and a half hours. No one noticed the security breach for that long. Still, Cleveland Water says the incident was discovered “shortly” after it happened.
There’s no word on whether anyone ever developed any information on the driver seen crashing on the video and leaving the scene.