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Water problems affect nursing home

A recent episode of water contamination in the South 12th Street area of the city has spurred one business owner to seek answers from the city.

Friday, June 29, 2001

A recent episode of water contamination in the South 12th Street area of the city has spurred one business owner to seek answers from the city.

At last night’s council meeting, Jo Linda Heaberlin and her husband Richard, owners of Jo-Lin Nursing Center in Ironton, spent several days without water from a contamination affecting the water supply of their business.

On June 10, Ironton Public Services director John A. McCabe received a report from the Ironton Police Department that an odor was coming from water at the Massie residence, located at 2903 S. 12th St. In a memo McCabe sent to Mayor Bob Cleary, he said Massie complained of a "strong smell in his house from water in the kitchen sink."

In that memo, McCabe said he told Massie not to use the water, but leave it running and he would send someone from the treatment plant to take a sample. McCabe also sent an employee from the distribution department to "pull his meter and flush his service line."

At about 10 p.m. Cleary contacted McCabe informing him that Jo-Lin Health Center was also experiencing the same problem with their water.

Water employees flushed fire hydrants along the main loop in the area that runs from South Ninth Street from Wyanoke to Lorain streets; South Ninth Street to U.S. 52 on Clinton Street; from Adams Lane to Clinton Street on 13th Street; from Clinton Street to Wyanoke Street; to Clinton Street on 12th Street; and from 12th Street to Ninth Street on Wyanoke Street.

McCabe said the hydrants were left open for about four hours with the last hydrant at Adams Lane and U.S. 52 turned off at about 2 a.m. Monday morning.

McCabe said he then began to conduct water surveys of businesses, including Matlack, Tri-State Wilbert Vault, BP Oil Company, ODOT and Muth Lumber.

He said once returning to the office, he prepared letters to the companies surveyed and instructions to install backflow prevention devices. These devices prevent material from flowing back into the water lines if the water pressure drops.

McCabe said he also contacted other businesses with instructions to retest existing backflow prevention devices.

Treatment plant superintendent Jennifer Donahue was on vacation during the situation. In a letter she sent to Cleary, she outlined her belief that the situation was not handled correctly. She said the first boil water advisory was lifted on June 12 before a repeat water sample was taken.

Donahue reinstated the "no use" water advisory on June 18 and conducted more water testing. The advisory was lifted on June 22 after tests were returned.

Testing revealed that the contaminant was petroleum-based, although the source point has yet to be determined. In the memo to Cleary, McCabe said the situation was still under investigation.

The situation has also spurred a Public Utilities committee meeting to discuss the issue and review plans on how to handle similar situations in the future. The committee meeting will be held July 10 at 5 p.m.