BROOKLYN — Because of persistence, the Friends of Big Creek helped the city of Cleveland locate a leaking water valve that was dumping water all the way from Denison Avenue to the Brookside Reservation off Ridge Road.
Dennis Petro, a member of FOBC and longtime Brooklyn resident, said it all began about four years ago when they suspected something was wrong with the water in the reservation after noticing what he describes as "soap suds" coming out a culvert in the Brooklyn Brookside Reservation.
Following a call to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Cleveland sewer department agreed to put dye in the street sewers to see if they were leaking into the reservation's culvert. After no dye came our of the culvert, the group went back to investigating the situation. After about a year, however, the suds stopped coming out of the reservation's culvert that flows into Big Creek. Petro said they suspect someone was dumping chemicals into the water, but cannot confirm that.
So, this year they wanted to test the water again to see if [it] was contaminated with chemicals. Following a hike, they took samples which they turned over to the EPA. Those samples were not good, though, Petro said. So members of the EPA came out to sample the water themselves. They found chlorine— an indicator of city water—leaking from the culvert into Big Creek and also out of rubble near homes on Denison Avenue.
"They said, 'it has to be a leak'," Petro recalls.
So the city's division of water agreed to come out and meet with Petro. At first they didn't take him seriously and told him the water was only run off, he said.
"They said it was run off, but then they smelled chlorine," he said.
Petro, a vice co-chair of the group, said chlorine will not contaminate the creek, but that it is not good for the wildlife living there.
Michael Glisic, assistant chief of distribution with the Cleveland Division of Water, said he cannot give a time frame or a dollar amount for the repair, but said they will get it fixed. He did say, however, it is a difficult repair because the leak originates next to railroad tracks and they need to get permission from the railroad company before going in to fix it.
He said they don't know how long the valve has been leaking.
"Eventually we would have gotten it, but it's good we have concerned citizens," Glisic said.
For information go to www.friendsofbigcreek.org.