In the late 1800’s, the City of Elyria purchased property on the shore of Lake Erie, which is now inside the city limits of Lorain, to build a water plant and pump treated water to its citizens. The original Water Plant on West 15th Street in Elyria was sold to the Elyria Iron and Steel Company in 1904 and the new water plant began pumping treated water from Lake Erie to Elyria in a 20″ cast iron main, still in use today. Elyria is believed to be the first inland City in the United States to pump treated water from the Great Lakes.
In 1922, the original Water Plant was at capacity and a new plant replaced the old, expanding to a capacity of 8 million gallons per day. Over the years various improvements and expansions have taken place bringing the current capacity of the Elyria Water Works to 22 million gallons per day.Elyria supplies water not only to its citizens, but surrounding Townships, North Ridgeville, Amherst, and the Erie Huron County Rural Water Authority at an average daily rate of 9.5 million gallons. Because of the water plant capacity, water use restrictions are not required during the hot summer months when demands increase.
The Elyria Water Works is a conventional surface water treatment plant using Lake Erie as its only source of water. Two water intakes are used to bring lake water into the plant, a 24″ diameter line installed in 1903 and a 42″ installed in 1946. Zebra mussels which first became a threat of clogging water intakes in 1987 have been seen on Elyria’s intakes but annual maintenance and inspections have prevented the mussels from becoming a problem. The raw lake water is pumped into the Rapid Mix tanks and flows by gravity through the rest of the treatment process before being pumped to the force mains. The principle steps through the treatment process are rapid mixing, flocculation, sedimentation, rapid sand filters, and clearwells. Water from the Clearwells is pumped to the consumers through three force mains, 20, 30, and 48 inches in diameter at a pressure leaving the water plant of approximately 110psi. The Water Works operates 24 hours per day, 365 days a year following the rules and regulations of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Administrative Code.