On the Record with Port Clinton Mayor Vince Leone

As many residents and visitors know, the algal bloom and the water quality issues facing Lake Erie are a hot topic. This month, Mayor Leone wanted to address these issues and let the people of the City know what steps the City is taking to prepare for an emergency and what long term solutions they are looking into for the situation.

“The relationship with the City and County has improved dramatically. It is important that we work together to watch the water quality and go over the protocols of what we need to do. On Tuesday, August 12, Port Clinton Fire and Police, Safety Service Director Colston and other emergency services employees met to create and go over a standard operating procedure for when Port Clinton is faced with an emergency.”

“We need to make a plan to isolate the water tower and distribute water; we need to talk to the county, hospitals, the elderly and schools to see what their needs are so we are prepared. I do not see this as a “what if”, I see it as a “when”.”

“At the City and in the administration, we all believe we need to be transparent. We need to have those operating procedures in place and we need to educate the public on these procedures.”

“We have signs now to post along the lakeshore when advisories arise. Hopefully, we won’t need to use them and they will sit and collect dust. In case we do need them, though, we don’t want to be scrambling, we want to be prepared to inform the public immediately.”

“Right now there is a four hour window in finding fault in the water system. The county takes a sample and it goes to a testing facility in Oregon. I have an issue with the four hour window, every second counts. A lot of water can be distributed in that time. We want to find a way to shorten that time frame. We have people in house that are capable, we want to train them to make this process quicker.”

“The water quality results section that we added to the City of Port Clinton’s website are not a perfect solution, but it is a great, informative tool for the citizens. We are researching how other areas have dealt with microcystin issues and we are working together with Oak Harbor to handle collective issues as they arise.”

“These are not immediate solutions, but we want to find a long term answer to the problem.”

“Farmers, who are getting a lot of the blame, are only some of the problem. There are failing sewers where raw sewage is getting into the lake. We, as a City, are working on a plan for the separation of sewer and storm water. Looking at Port Clinton alone, we have combined system overflow where runoff goes into the lake. In my opinion, any combined system overflow runoff is too much runoff. We are looking into ways to reduce those numbers. The separation of sewer will help lessen the combined system overflow events dramatically.”

“When the standard operating procedure is created, it will be distributed. We need to have a plan to be prepared for the needs of our community. My biggest responsibility as mayor is to ensure the safety of the residents and visitors of Port Clinton. Information is the key for the safety of the people.”

Those without internet access are encouraged to call City Hall for any questions on the water quality. The number for Port Clinton City Hall is 419-734-5522.

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