Water woes in Canal Winchester

Turning on the tap for at least a dozen households in Canal Winchester is a dirty thing, but the problem is not with the water flowing from the faucet-it is in an aging infrastructure.

Twenty residents living on Highland, West Fairfield, and Water streets signed a petition circulated by Virginia Snouffer asking the village to provide street improvements, including renovations to the underlying infrastructure as well as adding curbs and gutters.

"After a light rain, the water was up to my ankles in my side yard," said Canal Winchester Village Councilwoman Leah Turner.

The petitions, which ask that work be done as soon as practical, were discussed by council at its Oct. 6 meeting. The primary concern listed on the petitions was standing water following rainstorms, but Turner, who lives in the area but did not sign the document, said the problem is also below the ground in the water lines.

"I’ve lived in my house for 50 years and I don’t recall the pipes have ever been worked on," reported Turner. "The problem at our house has been brownish water coming out of our faucets all the time.
All of us have had to have plumbers come out. It’s not the water system. The water is good; it’s just the crap coming out of the pipes underground. It’s one of the older sections of town and the pipes are so old, they are breaking. It started before the new treatment plant was constructed, but it’s just gotten worse. I’ve said time and again something needs to be done on this street."

Despite sharing the same problem with her fellow residents, Turner said her position on council has been called into question because of the issue.

"I’ve been told to lay off of this and that I was reported to the (state) ethics board because of my involvement on behalf of my neighbors," stated Turner, "and I want to say I am still going to stand up for my neighbors. It’s my job. I don’t care if they take me in front of the governor. This (street improvement) is on the CIP for 2010, but it’s been on the CIP five times before. Something needs to be done. It’s not a new problem, it’s just getting worse."

Mayor Mike Ebert said the village will look into the problem and Public Works Director Matt Peoples told council he has scheduled a meeting to talk about specific issues with residents.

Other Canal Winchester news

•Andrew Larned, lead organizer for the first annual Taste of Canal Winchester, was presented with a mayoral proclamation for his effort. Ebert commented Larned was an example of the "integrity, values and commitment, and symbolic of the character of the greatest volunteers of our business community."

•Peoples said he was happy to report, for the second year in a row, premiums for health insurance have decreased. The half percent reductions, coupled with an 11 percent drop last year, saw individual premiums go from $504 in 2007 to $446 in 2009 and family premiums fall from $1,306 to $1,155.
Over an eight year period, policies increased approximately 21 percent.

Peoples added that New Albany just joined the insurance consortium because they were facing a 60 percent rate increase with their present insurance carrier.

•Ebert reported village work crews spent a week following the Sept. 14 windstorm cleaning up curbside debris deposited by residents. The estimated cleanup cost was over $16,000, with over $14,000 in damages as a result of sustained winds in excess of 75 mph, primarily to pumps and motors as a result of spikes in electric service, and roofing. Canal Winchester representatives are meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see what can be done to recoup costs. The Ohio Insurance Institute determined the storm was the costliest, at $553 million in statewide losses, since the 1974 tornado that devastated Xenia. Counties south of I-70 were hardest hit and claims were concentrated particularly around the Cincinnati, Dayton and central Ohio areas, although numerous claims were reported across of the state.

"Those village employees did a wonderful job," said resident Jeanette Schneider. "Across the street from us they had quite a few downed branches and crews did a fantastic job all over the village."

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