Moves Taken To Keep Boats Out Of Power Plant Discharge Area
Undertow, underwater cliff make area dangerous.
Avon Lake City Council is asking the state to take measures in keeping boats away from the GenOn discharge area.
The Avon Lake Safety Committee approved of a resolution that if accepted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, would prohibit boats from the discharge near the GenOn Power Plant in Miller Road Park.
The location has been the site of several drownings over the years
“People don’t realize the plant discharges 330,000 gallons per minute,” Avon Lake Police Chief David Owad said. As a result, an underwater channel has formed that isn’t visible to those swimming or wading in the area. Those swimming or wading encounter a steep drop off or a strong undertow.
The area is to the east of the permitted swimming area known as “the cut.” While swimming is allowed in the large open area by the beach, warning signs advise of no swimming by the channel. Still, park visitors and boaters have ventured over, sometimes with lethal results.
“We had a situation recently where a fellow let a young daughter off the boat onto the small peninsula there,” Owad said. Had the girl stepped into the water, the results could have been disastrous.
The city will request from the state that no boaters will be allowed inside the discharge area.
“It’s not our property to decide,” Owad said. “That being the case, it’s up to the state.”
The city will include a resolution in an application for a Federal Navigational Aid Grant. If accepted the state will put up markers.
“It’s not a guarantee it will be done,” Owad said.
The resolution states, “Avon Lake City Council has been aware of and sensitive to the potential hazardous conditions at the water discharge of GenOn Corporation in the City of Avon Lake and its effect on the navigational waters of Lake Erie…the area in question has been identified as the location of prior drownings, accidents and numerous police and fire rescue responses…”
Both Owad and Avon Lake Fire Chief, whose department as well as the Lorain County Dive Team respond when drownings or near drownings occur, have forwarded correspondence to the state.
Swimming area considered safe
Owad said that although the area by the discharge is considered dangerous, the designated swimming area off the beach is considered safe.
“This does not mean the general area is hazardous,” Owad said. “The only area that presents a problem is the discharge area.”
He said boats will still be permitted near the fishing pier near the west end of the park.