NORTH OLMSTED

The city is keeping the accumulation of water and gunk in mind when trying to fend off flooding.

That’s why, pending final approval from city council, a $465,000 combination jet-vacuum truck will be added to North Olmsted’s service vehicle fleet later this year.

“The jet-vac truck will be out every day as soon as the weather turns and cleaning the storm sewers,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy said.

The truck will be acquired from the Jack Doheny Co. through the state purchase program and could be in service as soon as this spring.

A jet-vac apparatus behaves as a large shop-vac of sorts, using a hose and a variety of attachments to suck debris or even excess water out of sewers, including blockages that can be as large as a brick.

“As you get in bigger (sewers), sometimes there’s roots or different things, and we’ll have to go in there and cut the roots,” Kennedy said. “These trucks have a lot of different attachments to them, so with smaller pipes you can actually cut things.”

Flood mitigation has been a central issue of late for Kennedy and city leadership. The new truck is the latest measure being taken, following research that is still being conducted at several sites to eventually build a $1.5 million equalization –or EQ– tank in the southern portion of the city.

During heavy rain events, an EQ tank can trap and store excess water that could otherwise overload residential storm sewers and lead to flooding issues and even enter creeks and streams. After the rain stops, water in the EQ tank would flow toward the sewage treatment plant for processing.

“This can’t come soon enough,” city engineer Pete DiFranco told West Life in December. “We’re looking to make some positive improvements and deal with some of the issues.”

Additionally, Kennedy is advocating for the purchase of a new $250,000 streetsweeper, replacing the current 20-year-old model that has far surpassed its lifespan. That item will have to be added to the city’s 2021 budget, an ongoing debate as the permanent budget is being finalized.

While the jet-vac truck can remove excess water and debris underground, the streetsweeper plays a vital role in preventing debris from entering the sewers in the first place.

“Our current streetsweeper is over 20 years old, and (fleet manager) Tony Farella’s garage has extended the life of it,” Kennedy said. “We don’t intend to extend it any longer.”

Contact this reporter at cvoloschuk@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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