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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Mayor of Ohio Holds Press Conference

Aired August 15, 2003 - 08:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: From Cleveland right now, Jane Campbell is the mayor of that town. She is now talking to reporters as well.
Let's take a dip and listen to what's happening in Cleveland at this hour.

MYR. JANE CAMPBELL, CLEVELAND, OHIO: Water still is under the boil alert. That means that when the water begins to flow, you have to for 24 hours, you must boil the water four minutes for the first 24 hours. And so, just to be easy, think about it until noon tomorrow, boil your water for four minutes. And that way, you'll know it's safe before you go on ahead and drink it.

As we've said before, what will happen is that the water will be restore based on geography. This is just the law of gravity. The higher you are, the harder it is to pump. We have 5,000 miles of water pipes that we are moving that water through, and that is really been a very impressive activity on the part of our system.

We still have the 17 water buffaloes that we ordered last night, that we have on standby just in case it appears that there for some reason are pockets where the water can't be restored.

And at the noon briefing, we'll tell you whether we've determined whether we need to put those in operation. Preliminary estimates are that we may not even have to use them. But we wanted to be prepared in case that was necessary.

One thing that we remind people is, water fountains are included in this boil alert. So when you go to the water fountain, obviously that water is not boiled. So do not use the water fountains while the boil alert is on.

We have 80 percent of the power restored in this area. Cleveland Public Power is 100 percent restored. All 32 substations are functioning.

We are, however, reminding everyone that as this system comes online, we want people to conserve energy, and so that there's not just an extraordinary stress as it comes on, particularly if there's a way you can live without air-conditioning -- open the windows, take a walk, drink a glass of ice water, something other than than -- something other than using your air-conditioning would be really helpful.

First Energy has asked us to say the same for the first energy customers. About 80 percent of the First Energy customers should be in the process of getting their power restored. And they estimate that by noon, all of the power will be back on. But they have asked us again to say please, please, please, conserve your energy if at all possible, because there will be great stress on the system as it comes online.

We have imposed a sprinkling ban, because until the water system is fully operational, we'd like to have water for people as opposed to for lawns on the first basis.

We've spoken about the sewer system. Our sewer system is fully operational again. Southerly, easterly and westerly sewage treatment plants are all operational.

There was leakage of some untreated sewage into the Cuyahoga River last night, and so it is must of that that we must close the beaches. The beaches will probably be closed for at least 24 hours until the water is clean. We are doing the testing so that we can ascertain when that will be operational.

The airport is operating again. It has power. We are doing screening. We are able to screen bags. We are able to determine who's who for the passengers. The airlines are now in the process of reassessing their schedules.

Initially, they had predicted that planes would not fly until noon, and they're appearing to be ready to find out how to be planes on an earlier basis. So anyone who is trying to meet a plane or take a plane ought to contact their airline directly to determine when they are moving.

In terms of city facilities, as we have said consistently, our garbage collectors are on the street now. Anyone who has a Friday pickup should have their garbage ready, because we will be there to pick it up. Our parks and recreation, the Director of Parks and Recreation have crews out now looking at our pools and our parks. It is our expectation we will be able to open all of our pools and our recreation centers at noon. This should provide an opportunity for people to have a good place to go if it's hot, come swimming in one of the pools.

We also have the west side market is open. Last night, we had anticipated that it would not be able to be open. But we have not lost water, power is restored there and the west side market is functioning and ready to go.

So we have really seen in the 16 hours that we have been dealing with this turmoil, we have seen an extraordinary response by our citizens, by our employees, and certainly by our safety forces. Our police...

HEMMER: That's Jane Campbell, the mayor of Cleveland, talking about the situation there in northern Ohio, step by step crawling back to normal in northern Ohio. There's a boil alert under way. She's urging people to conserve energy, saying if you don't need the air- conditioning, don't use it at this point. A bit of a silver lining in all that. She says by noon Eastern Time, which is a bit more than three hours from now -- it is 8:50 a.m. here on the East Coast -- she says by noon all power will be back on. But this water alert right now, she says, if you live in a high building, it's the laws of gravity. The higher you are, the longer you might be waiting. We'll continue to watch the latest in Cleveland, Ohio.

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