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SHARON Engineers shut down Shenango Dam access

By Harold Gwin

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Two water supply plants are on alert a few miles downstream.
SHARON, Pa. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has again closed off access to the Shenango Dam and outflow area, this time in the wake of U.S. bombing in Afghanistan.
The corps had closed off public access to the area after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., as part of a general heightened alert status of all federal facilities across the country.
The Shenango Dam and outflow area had just been reopened last week but was closed again Monday as a result of heightened security since the attacks in Afghanistan.
The nearby Mahaney Recreation Area is still open to the public.
The ban on public access to the dam extends 300 yards along the Shenango River below the dam itself, said Jeff Cornelius, resource manager at Shenango River Lake.
That's not the only beefed up security along the Shenango Valley section of the river.
Water plant security: Just downstream from the dam is the Sharpsville water plant which supplies potable water to the borough and part of nearby South Pymatuning Township.
Borough Manager Michael Wilson said additional police patrols, added security lighting and getting employees on heightened alert for any unusual activity have already been implemented.
Some additional measures are being examined, he said.
A couple of miles further downstream, Sharon police are paying very close attention to the new $36 million water plant of Consumers Pennsylvania Water Co. Shenango Valley Division along North Water Avenue.
The privately owned plant provides water to 80,000 customers in Mercer, Trumbull and Lawrence counties.
Sharon Police Capt. Michael Menster said the plant has been secured and alarmed and is getting increased police patrols.
The fact that so many residents are supplied from the plant prompted the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission on Tuesday to instruct its chief, Joseph Timko, to meet with Sharon and Hermitage police chiefs to discuss any need for additional security is needed there or elsewhere.