Last week City Council held a spirited community discussion on fracking.
The standing room only crowd was testament to the level of interest in the prospective economic and environmental impacts from this rapidly growing industry in our region.
No doubt Ohio is poised to benefit from the kind of economic resurgence that Texas enjoyed for the last decade — the question everyone seems to be wrestling with is can the drilling boom be done in an environmentally safe manner, particularly as it relates to protecting our precious water supply.
Big question, high stakes, and unfortunately no easy answers.
We’ll keep working with the State (since they regulate the oil and gas industry), local businesses (who are seeing job numbers grow to support the demands of this rapidly growing industry) and the residents (that want more jobs, just not at the risk of sacrificing Kent’s water supply) to come up with the best answers we can, but in the meantime the City will keep doing what it does best — protecting our water resources and delivering great tasting water to your home every day.
I know Fracking is a big news story, and for good reason, but I’d still argue that some of the most important water protection work goes largely unnoticed every day by the Kent City employees that operate the water plant, test water samples, repair pipes and pumps, and guard our raw water aquifer at all costs.
Anything that gets done well 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is easy to be taken for granted, and for me, the whole discussion of fracking serves as a reminder for how important and how well the City employees manage our water system.
Taking care of the City’s water gets done every day but there’s nothing routine about it. If commitment is judged by what people do, not just what they say, I can make a good case that no one is more committed to protecting and preserving Kent’s water system than Kent’s employees. We spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours as the stewards of Kent’s water resources and the fact that we consistently rate as one of the best tasting water in the U.S. is a real point of pride to our employees.
And it should be for all of us that drink it every day too.
So, as boring as it might sound, we’re getting ready to begin the Middlebury Road Waterline project this month. It doesn’t have much drama but its arguably very important to anyone that turns their faucet and expects safe, good tasting water.
Here’s a few project details:
The City will begin construction of the Middlebury Road Waterline project in April 2012 and be complete by November 2012. The waterline work will include the replacement of an existing 6″ waterline with a new 8″ waterline on Middlebury Road from Akron boulevard to Longmere Drive.
The project will also replace an existing 2″ waterline with a new 8″ waterline on Munroe-Falls-Kent Road from Middlebury Road to Roosevelt Avenue.
It turns out that the City of Kent Service Department has recorded 17 total waterline breaks along the existing Middlebury Road watermain since the year 2000. The City’s Central Maintenance Department has been responding to the frequent breaks and here’s a map that shows the locations of the trouble spots:
Approximately 3,800 feet of water main replacement is proposed. This project will tie into the new Middlebury/Cherry water main and continue northeast along Middlebury Road, terminating with a connection into the Longmere Drive watermain. The new 8 inch ductile iron pipe will be wrapped in plastic to protect it from corrosive soils.
Boring but effective.
That’s our motto.