NASA Deeds Waterline to Erie County

Posted on January 5, 2015

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Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, General David Stringer from NASA, Commissioners Bill Monaghan, Tom Ferrell and Erie County Recorder Barb Sessler were all part of the formal signing. The NASA water lines have a 34 million gallons a day capacity and gives Erie County a reliable back up water supply!

The Erie County Board of Commissioners, through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Government Services Agency, has successfully acquired an extremely vital piece of waterworks infrastructure at no cost to local taxpayers.  The Commissioners are now in control of a deep water 42 inch Lake Erie raw water intake, pumping station, and more than 11 miles of 34 and 24 inch transmission lines.

The intake and pumping station are located at the Sheldon's Marsh State Nature Preserve in western Huron Township just outside the Huron City limits.  The line moves southwest through Huron Township, and into Perkins Township to the NASA Plumbrook Research Station.  From there, it moves north back through Perkins Township into the City of Sandusky; ultimately ending at the City's Big Island water treatment plant.  This raw water system can provide up to 34 million gallons of untreated Lake Erie water a day.

It took efforts from all three County Commissioners, working with various federal officials, to secure this for our community.  Starting in the early 2000's, Commissioner Thomas M. Ferrell, Jr. spearheaded a proposal to site a county water treatment plant near the NASA property.  He gained permission from federal officials for the County to inspect, clear debris, and repair the intake line.  The treatment facility project was ultimately postponed as county officials successfully negotiated a significantly lower rate for its customers from their primary supplier of consumable water.

Recognizing the community value of the local NASA facility, Commissioners Bill Monaghan and Patrick J. Shenigo continued the task; as an offshoot in search of local economic development opportunities near the site.  They worked tirelessly with NASA officials and Ohio's U.S. Senators and Representatives to make this a reality.

The County Commissioners will now direct their efforts towards ensuring a reliable secondary water source to the two largest producers in the county - the cities of Huron and Sandusky.

This system was first used to provide water for the production of dynamite during World War II at the local Plumbrook Ordnance Works.  Later converted to a NASA facility, the system supported cooling water for a nuclear research reactor and the other testing systems for almost 20 years beginning in the 1960's.  With the decommissioning of the reactor the infrastructure was considered surplus.