Painesville's New Water Intake Opens

On Wednesday, September 30, the City of Painesville held a small grand opening ceremony for the Painesville Water Plant’s new 4,000-foot raw water intake. The $14 million project, which has been in the works since November 2016, is an example of modern engineering and local collaboration. The new intake broke a U.S. construction record with Ric-Man Construction Inc. achieving the title of the longest microtunneling project in the United States by tunneling 25 feet below the bottom of Lake Erie’s shale and clay for a total of almost 4,000-feet for the 60-inch pipe.


The City’s old 36-inch, 4,000-foot water intake was originally designed in 1951 and was plagued with problems from the beginning. Due to unforeseen joint and pipe issues, the water plant was only able to pull water 1,500-feet from shore. After years of repairs, the remaining 2,500-feet of pipe and intake crib was abandoned in 1968.


After the harmful algal blooms that plagued Lake Erie’s western communities in 2014, the Ohio EPA began offering planning and design loans at 0% interest to encourage development that prevents harmful algal blooms from affecting community water supplies. With this loan, the new water intake project became a reality for the City of Painesville.


In 2014, the City selected Burgess & Niple to prepare plans and specifications for the new water intake. Ric-Man Construction Inc. was named the primary contractor and construction engineer and inspector, Mannick Smith Group, were all able to work together with water plant staff to resolves design and construction issues throughout the three and half year construction.


“The new intake is essential for the on-going operation of the Painesville Water Treatment Plant because it will take us into the next 100 plus years,” said Doug Lewis, Assistant City Manager.


The Painesville Water Plant supplies quality water to approximately 32,000 people in Painesville City, Painesville Township, Grand River, Concord Township and a small section of Mentor. The new intake is projected to help save costs on reduced treatment processes and require less wear and tear on plant equipment, making for a more efficient water treatment process.


“Generally, the further out you are, the cleaner the water,” said Orin McMonigle, Painesville Water Superintendent. “Lake Erie is a fantastic water source regardless of where you pull from, but the deeper you can get, the less contaminants there are from nature and humans.”