Kent council opposes Akron proposal to divert water from Lake Rockwell

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By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Kent City Council hopes to prevent Akron from diverting millions of gallons of water from Lake Rockwell and the Cuyahoga River. Akron has proposed diverting up to 5-million gallons of water daily from Lake Rockwell in Franklin Township and Streetsboro, one of the city's main water supplies and site of one of its water treatment plants. Council Wednesday asked Interim City Manager William Lillich to attempt to negotiate with Akron representatives hoping both sides can agree to: -- Minimize releases from the Lake Rockwell dam. -- Compensation to Kent for additional water treatment costs they say would result form the diversion. -- Testing of oxygen levels below the dam. -- Cooperative water conservation programs. A copy of the resolution, voicing Kent's opposition and calling for talks with Akron will also be sent to Gov. George Voinovich. The water would be used to supply parts of Copley, Coventry and Springfield townships in southern Summit County as part of three joint economic-development agreements. Before putting the proposal into effect, Akron needs the approval of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, because the diversion would take water from Lake Erie and the Great Lakes watershed and send it to the Tuscarawas River and Ohio River watershed. Akron has proposed replacing the lost flow downstream from Portage County by diverting water from Portage Lakes into two points along the Cuyahoga River. The Kent's environmental commission and the Kent Environmental Council have opposed Akron's plan, saying it would reduce the already low water flow in the river during the summer, cause more stagnant waters and create foul odors in the river and make it less enjoyable to use and harming fish. Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager Bob Brown said the plan would also raise wastewater treatment costs because there would be less river flow to dilute discharged wastewater, eventually leading to more stringent pollution control guidelines for industry and putting the city ad a disadvantage for economic development. Kent Environmental Council President Harold Walker applauded council for moving ahead with the resolution. In other business, council approved a settlement between the city and Kent residents Anthony and Elizabeth Missimi allowing them to build a home on Sheri Drive on land the family owns. The family asked for the permit in January, but had been unable to obtain one because the site is past the end of the road and sewer and water lines do not run there. The city will pay for water and sewer lines to be extended 90 feet to the property line. From there, the road extension and extension of utility lines would be subject to a voluntary assessment paid by the Missimi family. The work will be done this year if possible, but City Engineer Alan Brubaker estimated the city won't start the road work until next year because it is late in the construction season.

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