YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Youngstown Water Department has wrung up quite a bit in overtime costs this winter.
On Friday, Water Commissioner Harry Johnson said so far this year, the department has spent $112,000 for overtime just in the past six weeks to cover workers having to repair and replace broken lines. Johnson said that amount is nearly double what was spent on overtime during the same period a year ago.
In fact, the amount is a little more than a third of what was spent on construction expenses for all of 2013 and almost four times what was spent for overtime the first six weeks of 2012. Johnson said it’s hard to know for sure how the expense will affect the water department for the rest of the year because the city has not yet finalized its budget.
On Thursday, Youngstown Construction Superintendent Joe Dunlap said with many of the city’s water lines dating back more than 100 years, if there were any weaknesses in them, the recent cycle of freezing and thawing would almost certainly find them. He said so far, workers have had more than 130 breaks since Jan. 1, saying they have not had one day since then without at least one break.
Also on Friday, the water commissioner said there is nothing wrong with water coming out of residents’ faucets despite thousands of letters sent to customers this month.
He said a company hired to test city water every three months was late recently in getting the results to the Ohio EPA, which resulted in a violation against the city. Johnson said while there are no problems with the water, the state required letters be sent out to every customer in the system notifying them of the issue.
The city has since hired another firm to do its lab work.