Niles resident comes to city council meeting with brown water

NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – A Niles homeowner stood before city council Wednesday night with a bottle of brown water and a big problem.

Joe Lewis also showed council members a filter, covered with brown sediment.

“This is a filter from my house. It’s two weeks old. I’ve been changing filters every two to three weeks with the hydrant running. The temporary fix is not working.”

Lewis said it’s been going on at his home on Difford Drive, near Fairhaven School, for at least a year. He said that’s when his house and a dozen others nearby started getting brown water, possibly from aging pipes or a change in the water’s chemicals.

The City of Niles put in a temporary fix – a fire hydrant at the end of the water line, through which water flows continuously, passing through a hose that empties into a ditch. The hydrant leaks underground, though, flooding Lewis’ front yard.

“The front of my yard, up inside…there’s a little dip. It’s saturated with water, too,” he said.

While Lewis would rather deal with a swampy yard instead of dirty water, he really doesn’t want to have to deal with either issue.

His neighbor, Marie Rosa, also addressed council. She only drinks bottled water.

Niles Safety Service Director Jim DePasquale said the city has been approved for a grant to fix the problem, but the money’s not coming until spring. With Niles in fiscal emergency, there’s no way of getting it fixed sooner.

That’s not what Lewis wanted to hear.

“Something’s got to be done with this water. You want to drink that? I don’t.”

Council also announced Wednesday that Jay Holland, who has been serving as acting police chief, has the job permanently.

It said that the city is now part of ohiocheckbook.com and all of the money it spends will be posted online.

Niles City Council will meet again Thursday at 5 p.m. to talk about an amended financial plan to get the city out of fiscal emergency.