MEDINA — County commissioners laid out Tuesday ways residents can stay informed in the event of an emergency, a step taken to reassure a grassroots protest group that emergency plans are in place for the now-finished NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline.
The group, Sustainable Medina County, reiterated concerns that there isn’t an emergency plan in place for residents in case there is an explosion or leak at the compressor station located at 8707 Guilford Road.
However, county leaders said plans exist, and there are various ways residents can receive information.
Any emergency disaster plan would be handled by Christina Fozio, disaster services director for the Medina County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Fozio said the county’s reverse notification system is the best avenue for citizens who want to stay informed.
“That would be the primary source — fast, quick,” she said. “That’s the fastest and easiest way that we know. It will be known what actions to take when something may be happening.”
Fozio said EMA now pays for the reverse notification system, which would alert residents in the event of any kind of emergency — not just one related to the pipeline.
“We pay for that out of our budget,” she said. “That’s how important it is to us.”
It’s a free service. In the event of a local emergency, an alert will be sent via phone call, text message and/or email. To sign up, go www.medinacountyema.org/medina-county-alerts-reverse-911/.
Commissioner Bill Hutson has asked Fozio to plan to give a 10- to 15-minute presentation at an upcoming commissioners meeting.
Kathie Jones, spokesperson for Sustainable Medina County, had asked for a plan that residents could follow in the event of an emergency.
She proposed a community meeting to inform the residents of the disaster plan.
So far, a meeting date has not been set.
“You can’t what-if every situation,” Commissioner Adam Friedrick said.
Residents of Medina County can also receive notifications of emergency situations by a new mass notification system — Wireless Emergency Notification System, or WENS.
WENS allows safety officials to send mobile messages to the entire community, or a specific area within moments. These messages will inform residents of a situation and give instructions for action.
The notifications systems are not specific to NEXUS as Friedrick has said previously that there are several non-NEXUS gas pipelines already in the county and the same emergency management procedures have been in place.
The NEXUS pipeline route carries it across parts of Wadsworth, Guilford, Montville, Lafayette, York and Litchfield townships.
“Construction of the pipeline facilities are mechanically complete and the system is flowing natural gas,” NEXUS spokesman Adam Parker said in an email.
Parker said on Oct. 10, the FERC granted the project’s Sept. 17 request to place NEXUS facilities into commercial service.
The pipeline and associated compression facilities, including those in Medina County, are operational and are serving customers in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario. He said service at the compressor station commenced on Nov. 12.
In other news
- The Medina County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Gary Nocia is planning to retire in December after 16 years with the district. He plans on moving to the Columbus area to be closer to family. Jim Dieter, district manager, said Nocia worked on drawing up maps of Medina County.
- The first prairie committee meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. today at the Soil and Water Conservation office in Lafayette Township. The conservation district wants to plant a prairie on a 3-acre lot near its facility at 6090 Wedgewood Road.
- The Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s Office has launched its permit applications online for residential and commercial customers. It can be accessed at www.sanitaryengineer.co.medina.oh.us.
“They can do the whole process without ever coming in our office,” Assistant Sanitary Engineer Jeremy Sinko said.
Sinko ran a demonstration for commissioners on how customers can apply for permits online.
“It’s very user friendly,” he said.
The county building department is also working on its online permits.
“The goal is to somehow link them,” County Administrator Scott Miller said. “We want to make it as close to a one-stop (process) as possible.”
The sanitary engineers have gotten 777 applications since going live in the spring. In the summer, they get between 30 and 40 applications a week. It slows down in the winter.