Paula Ponders- Iron Ore Pellets

August 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

by Paula Tobias
Remember last year at council the discussion of the broken windshields on the 21st Bridge?

PRESIDENT SHAWVER: Before adjournment, I received a letter at home with some pictures of the Henderson Drive Bridge. Mr. Edwards and Mr. Wargo have been bringing this to the attention of the administration, the gravel and debris being dropped by trucks. This resident sent pictures and wants to get something done about that situation. Are we citing or doing anything to curtail that?

MR. ARENDT: We constantly call the police and talk with Captain Davey and Captain Engle and Chief Rivera. They do not have the resources to just leave someone out there all day but every time they get one, they are cited. I have been working with the law department to see if we can increase the penalty under our current ordinances. We are working on it.

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REGULAR MEETING -COUNCIL CHAMBER -CITY HALL BLDG * LORAIN OH, MAY 21, 200710PRESIDENT SHAWVER: Can we get some support from the media to let the public and drivers know that we will be going after them. If Mr. Wargo and Mr. Edwards have been bringing this up for over two years and now a resident is sending pictures, we evidentially have a problem.MR. EDWARDS: The problem is the steel pellets. They are loaded on the Jonick dock and hauled into US Steel. Occasionally they would run the sweeper through there but now they are not because of the two-lane traffic. The ground is covered with those steel pellets. There is enough evidence there for us to write someone a ticket.

An ordinance was passed stiffening the penalties for dropping loads onto city streets. On a second offense, the driver of the vehicle could be arrested. Council has already taken progressive action to try to increase penalties for that particular conduct. It is a matter of enforcement at this point in time.

PRESIDENT SHAWVER: I have been in other communities where they are mandated to wash their trucks before they come onto city streets. Is there something we can do with that?

LAW DIRECTOR PROVENZA: I have also looked at the possibility of drafting truck wash station legislation.MR. EDWARDS: A truck wash station will not eliminate the fact that the trucks are leaking steel pellets on the road. Look at what is on the bridge. They are steel pellets and no one else in this city is loading these pellets onto their trucks and hauling to US Steel but Jonick. You have to talk to the person creating the problem or you will not solve it.

MR. ARENDT: When they load those pellets, they wind up on the sides of the truck where there are indentations. That is where they are falling from and not off the bed of the truck. Mr. Provenza and I have spoken many times and we are looking into a mandatory wash station. In addition, the EPA has cited Jonick and has given them a list of things they must comply with. I checked with Mr. Timko and as of last week, we do not have the answer detailing exactly what violations they have answered too.

Those pellets imbed themselves in the threads of the tires. Any cracks in the beds of those trucks will also allow them to fall out onto the roads. One way toeliminate this is to send a sweeper out there a couple times a day.

MR. SCHUSTER: Another option we may want to look at is to check the trucks for weight. It is a good possibility they are being overloaded and a good portion of those pellets are coming from the top of the truck as well as the sides. If we can get our weight unit out there to check these trucks for weight, I think you would resolve some of that problem as well.

Even my councilman at the time Phil Betleski had his windshield broken and I believe Brian Hazlett had an issue as well.

MR. BETLESKI: I just got an 2007 Ford and had to put in a new windshield because of taconite(?). The contact person has been Attorney Walther and he gave me some names from Jonick, their attorney. Believe me, every day I am afraid to go over that bridge; I washit again and thought I was going to have to get another windshield but it hit somewhere on the body.

MR. WARGO: I witnessed overloaded trucks in the past two to three weeks, there were about three or four trucks overloaded on the top of the bed. I thought we had an ordinance that required them to cover the loads. If they put a canvass on them, they would not loose debris off the top of the truck. I can understand the edges but not the top. With a wash, those pellets on the sides would be eliminated. When they hit those bumps, all that debris spills out. You need to get them when they are coming out of the plant.

I remember hearing they couldn’t cite the driver unless the police witnessed it (pellets falling out of the truck onto the street). Mr. Wargo wanted a cleaning station they’d have to go through and tougher enforcement of the laws.

I remember those discussions. I wonder what happened. What type of enforcement and what follow up took place?

Oh yeah, and then I remembered the older couple that was trapped in their car in the under pass and drowned. That happened due to the inability of the sewers to handle that 100 year storm. What caused the drains to back up like that? Word on the street was the 5-6 truck loads of stone, debris, junk, and cr*p that they took out of that sewer after the accident.

It is so unfortunate that these accidents had to happen. What could have been done to prevent them?

And for the past few days I’ve been thinking of John Volak and his terrible ordeal. With the Bascule Bridge being up we’ve had to make many trips through that area. There have been times that I’ve been coming down heading southwest over the bridge and the speed picks up on you naturally, then you come around a corner and here are a bunch of cars “parked” under the overpass. There’s a bit of a blind spot plus you’re not used to seeing that much traffic in Lorain.

Do you remember driving your bike as a kid? Did you ever have to make a quick stop, throw on the brakes when you’re in a gravel parking lot? Or on the street? You lose control and you skid. I’ve had a few friends with the brush burns and pebbles lodged in their legs as a reminder of the consequences.

We need to make sure that with blind spots, stopped traffic , increased traffic in that area that loose iron ore pellets are not interfering with the safety of those that travel the highway.

Entry filed under: city of lorain, Paula's Perspective, personal opinion.

TALKING AT LAST- Revisit Lorain and her women

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August 2008

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