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Head of Lorain water plant resigns


LORAIN — Dan McGannon, credited with upgrading the water purification plant’s equipment and staff professionalism, is quitting.

McGannon didn’t return calls Tuesday night, but said in his Tuesday resignation letter to Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler that he was proud to have worked in Lorain.

“I have learned a lot about managing a large number of union employees and the culture of the city of Lorain’s workforce,” wrote McGannon, who said he was taking a private-sector job. “I have been fortunate to have been a part of the city of Lorain’s management team and I wish you every success in the future.”

McGannon was hired in April 2011, less than two weeks after plant workers failed to notify the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency of a boil alert. The alert was done due to cloudiness in the water known as turbidity.

Workers said the water was flushed into sewers as a precautionary measure and never reached the public. The botched alert led to a Tier 1 EPA violation and a shakeup in personnel at the plant.

An EPA report after the incident found the plant in compliance with Ohio laws but recommended more employee training, facility upgrades and improved preventive maintenance. City officials credited McGannon with improving morale and professionalism after the incident. The two boil alerts on his watch went smoothly.

McGannon in previous interviews said improving sludge removal and water quality were his top priorities. Last year, City Council members approved $1.8 million in upgrades for the plant, which opened in 1906 and processes about 10.3 million gallons of water daily.

McGannon, whose last day is Feb. 21, is a Class 4 plant operator, an EPA certification that is difficult to obtain. Fowler said the EPA requires plants to be operated by Class 4 operators or Class 3 operators seeking Class 4 certification.

Fowler told Civil Service Commission members at their Tuesday meeting that McGannon’s annual salary of $69,169 is low for Class 4 operators and he will be difficult to replace. Nonetheless, Fowler said after the meeting that he hopes to have the position filled in a month and the EPA allows up to two years to find a Class 4 operator.

“We’re going to go on the recruiting trail,” he said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

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