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Berlin Lake campground opening delayed by sewage problem

Nathan Lehota - ALLIANCE, Ohio (WYTV) - A major campground in the area will remain closed through one of its busiest weekends because of a sewage problem.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday that they will postpone opening the Berlin Lake Campground. The delay will have an effect on businesses in the area that rely on summertime campers to make a profit.

"We have people backed up to the roads coming in here for the campgrounds, getting all their material," Patrick Young, manager of TNT Drive-Thru.

And this summer, businesses are expecting to see less campers pass through their businesses because of the delayed opening of Mill Creek Campground until July 2.

"This is like at least 50 percent of our business throughout the whole year is in our summertime, so we are looking at a lot less money," Young said.

The delay was caused by a manhole that was damaged over the winter.

"This winter we had an unusually large amount of ice buildup, which then once the winds pulled into the shore, it took the top of the manhole, dislodged it and as you can see, it's not there, broke it off," Mill Creek Recreation Area maintenance leader Waylon Reigle said.

Reigle said the manhole takes in sewage from 90 percent of the campground, as well as the dump station, maintenance office and garage, so they have to shut down the park until it is fixed.

But the closure isn't just impacting local businesses. The Army Corps of Engineers said they had to cancel more than 400 campground reservations and it will cost them about $50,000 to repair the manhole, but the repair is absolutely necessary.

"When you have got a number of people all there camping, you don't know what they are going to do with their waste and it could become a public sanitary issue," Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Evan Skornick said. "Bathrooms not available, we would have shower houses not available. We would have people unable to pump out their holding tanks of RVs into the exit dump station.

Campers who have reservations to camp at Berlin Lake between May 20 and July 2 should adjust their plans and seek accommodations at another facility, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The boat launch ramp will open as scheduled on May 20.

"If we start to do the repair and we run into complications that we were not expecting, there could be further delays," Skornick said.

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