MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WYTV) – After recent stories about e.Coli bacteria in local streams and rivers, many people called in to our news station asking about the safety of local drinking water.
On Tuesday, WYTV 33 News sent a crew out to the Meander Water Plant in Mineral Ridge, which is operated by the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District. Approximately 300,000 people in the Mahoning Valley get their water from the reservoir.
According to paperwork filed with the Ohio EPA, the water coming out of the reservoir is clean and free of bacteria. Any bacteria in the reservoir itself is removed by the treatment process.
“Sometimes if there is a large amount of rainfall and there were a lot of geese, or a lot of animals in the area, you may have an increase in bacteria, but it is nothing that is not able to be handled,” Meander Water Chief Engineer Anthony Vigorito said.
The MVSD tests 300 locations each month for bacteria.
27 Investigates reporter Amanda Smith asked to see those test results. All through the month of June, when storm runoff polluted rivers and lakes and killed fish in Mill Creek Park’s Lake Newport, water treated by the MVSD tested clean.
The Ohio EPA tests for water purity. Water in the MVSD plant is testing almost clear enough to drink even before it is disinfected.
“The plant personnel have optimized treatment to make the water in the Mahoning Valley be the best it has ever been in 88 years,” Vigorito said.
The MVSD sells Meander Water all across the area. Extra money is invested back into the plant.
“Close to $600, $700 million has been spent during my time here to upgrade things,” said MVSD Board Member Rufus Hudson.
The Sanitary District is its own government entity. It has a public board with open meetings.
“Everything that we do, every meeting, we are devoted to make sure that the people out here have the equipment necessary to make the best quality water in the country. That is our commitment,” Hudson said.
Tests have found low levels of bacteria in the reservoir, especially after rains. Vigorito said that it is caused by bird droppings around the lake. All bacteria is removed in the treatment plant.