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Chippewa Lake residents rail against water bills

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    Ed Stevens spoke on behalf of 40 families that live in cottages at Chippewa Lake that are unhappy with their water bills. He voiced his concerns at the Medina County commissioners meeting Tuesday.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Ed Stevens just wants some relief and he is not alone.

Stevens spoke Tuesday during the Medina County commissioners meeting on behalf of about 40 families that own cottages on Chippewa Lake who feel their water bills are exorbitant. The residents want county officials to change a standard billing policy that forces them to pay for water that residents say they are not using.

Stevens, who resides in Westlake, said he spends about 30 to 35 days a summer at his Bungalow Bay cottage.

“Due to the harmful algae bloom problems we’ve had the last few years, we’ve been spending far less time at the cottage … with fewer family and guests joining us,” he said.

According to the most recent report, Chippewa Lake remains under an elevated recreational public health advisory due to toxic algal bloom. That means residents are warned to avoid all contact with the water and boating activity has been limited to an idle-speed, no-wake basis.

This has been the case in previous years and again in recent weeks.

Test results from water samples taken Oct. 23 show algal toxin levels of 35.3 parts per billion. This represents an increase from 25.6 ppb Oct. 16.

A recreational public health advisory is issued when toxin levels reach 6 ppb. It warns vulnerable persons as well as pets to avoid contact with the water. When toxin levels reach 20 ppb, an elevated recreational public health advisory is issued, warning all people and pets to avoid all contact with the water.

The Medina County Park District routinely monitors Chippewa Lake water conditions.

Stevens said he pays $547 a year for water and sewer. That includes a $65 charge for removal and installation of his water meter, which is removed in the winter months.

Amy Lyon-Galvin, Medina County sanitary engineer, said the cottage residents are billed for 2,000 gallons of water every two months. Stevens said he uses about 60 gallons, yet must pay $60.50 every two months regardless.

Even residents whose cottages remain shuttered year-round pay the same amount, he said.

Stevens said he pays $40 every three months at his residence in Westlake on his water bill from the city of Cleveland, which services the suburb.

“The cottage water is not drinkable,” he said.

Stevens said it’s used for washing dishes, watering plants, taking showers and using the commode.

“Cottage residents want what is fair to all concerned,” he said. “Today, we are working hard to make Chippewa Lake a safer place for our children and pets. We request that the commissioners consider a reasonable cost reduction that considers our current conditions.”

Stevens suggested the county eliminate the

$65 service fee for the annual removal and installation of the meter.

“We want some relief,” he said. “Amy said she is going to think about it. She can’t give an immediate decision, but she will consider some reduction.”

Stevens said he’s a member of the Save the Lake Coalition.

“We want to be able to increase the days we are at the cottage,” he said.

Lyon-Galvin said even if the cottage-dwellers aren’t residing there, the sanitation department must still deliver water and keep all the service lines in working order.

The county has approximately 465 miles of water lines, 17 water storage tanks, 12 water pumping stations, and three water treatment plants that currently service approximately 15,275 customers. The majority of the water supplied by the county comes from the Avon Lake Water Treatment Plant via Rural Lorain County Water Authority through three separate transmission lines.

In the southern part of the county, water is supplied by wells then treated and distributed to customers.

County commissioners said they will take Stevens concerns under advisement and Lyon-Galvin said she will look into what Chippewa Lake residents proposed.

In other news

  • Ron L. Zickefoose, of Creston, was reappointed as Medina County bee inspector for 2019. He’ll be paid $12 per hour, with bonuses for hives inspected and travel expenses. He can earn a $200 bonus if he inspects 100 hives and a maximum bonus of $600 if he inspects 900 hives.
    “It’s very important to our farming community,” Commissioner Bill Hutson said.
    Zickefoose was hired this year for the part-time position under the direction of the Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District.
  • Andy Conrad, Medina County highway engineer, said the Rocky River is moving closer and closer to Boston Road, east of Ridge Road, in Hinckley Township. He said the river is about 12 feet from the edge of pavement.
    Conrad said he wanted to present the potential problem to the commissioners to come up with a game plan. They said they’d monitor the situation.
  • The commissioners commended several residents with Medina County 4-H awards, including Doug Wellock and Bev Fry, meritorious service awards; Russ Farnsworth, Michele Paullin and Mike and Patti Boyert, friend of 4-H awards; Christine Becker, hall of fame award; Mandy Cahoon, leadership development award; Spunky Spurs, spirit award; and Guilford Go-Fers, community service award.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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