City and county prepare for snow melt

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The temperature increase over the next few days will melt tons of snow all across the valley.

That thaw is going to stress drainage systems and roads already under extreme pressure. The snow melt over the next few days could equal as much as an inch of rain, which will hit the city wastewater treatment plant and put added stress on the facility.

“A slow warm up with a natural progression to the snow melting is preferred over the sudden warm up paired with large amounts of rain,” Youngstown Public Works Director Charles Shasho said.

Ten inches of snow is as much water as 1 inch of rain. The city treatment plant handles 35 million gallons of water per day during dry weather, but wet weather pushes the plant over capacity.

The extra water also means an extra chance for clogged and frozen catch basins. The Youngstown Public Works Department and the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office said they need residents to help clean blocked catch basins, which will help keep the water flowing.

“We try to get them cleared, but obviously we have thousands of catch basins throughout the city. So to get them all cleared, it is not possible to get it done in time,” Shasho said.

Many catch basins are clogged and still frozen over, which will lead to backups and standing water on the roads. Officials say the thaw is a mixed blessing.

“It will be good because it is going to get rid of a lot of the snow, but the problems we are going to face now are obviously storm sewers and water getting to the storm sewers,” Ginnett said. “If you drive the streets, you can’t even see where the catch basins and curb inlets are.”

The county is planning $1 million worth of road paving this year. A massive improvement project is also in the works for the city wastewater plant.

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