Thursday, October 19, 2017 Elyria 66°


Heavy rains tax Elyria's aging stormwater system



ELYRIA — In the face of so much rain, Elyria’s plan for a stormwater overhaul has city officials eyeing weather trends.

Tuesday’s deluge brought nearly 2.75 inches of rain in a 24-hour period and pushed the city’s water treatment system to capacity.

“The water plant peaked at a rate of 100 million gallons a day at 8 p.m.,” Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said. “I don’t know if our weather patterns are changing for sure, but I know our system has been pushed a lot lately.”

The last time the city’s wastewater treatment plant — most of the city’s stormwater and sewer system is more than 50 years ago — was tested to those limits was just six weeks ago when another spring storm rolled through the area.

“I realize people have lost patience and faith, and I empathize,” she said. “The system has been old for many years, but it still doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating.”

Tuesday’s rain resulted in 30 calls from residents complaining of water in their basements and two who had flooded yards. The May storm produced more than 130 calls for water in basements.

“There is no system that can take the amount of water we are getting,” Siwierka said.

Elyria’s problems are not just the rain. Neighborhoods that have had problems are well known to the city. The streets north of Hilliard Road were annexed to the city in 1958 and storm sewers were never put in. The St. Jude area, portions of Eastern Heights and the numbered streets have old combined sewer and storm sewers that can’t take excess rain.

Siwierka said upgrades will be done systematically around the city, but will take years.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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