© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Online portal aims to streamline access to Summit County septic, water system records


Summit County Public Health released a new online portal for the public to request septic system and private water system records dating back to 1959.

Water quality manager Ali Rogalski said the new online portal will be more efficient for the public to access information such as maintenance reports, construction details or installation reports.

“All of the requests are public record. So prior to that if people wanted access to those records, they’d have to submit a request, call in, send a letter,” she said. “At certain times of the year we could receive hundreds of requests in a week and it was a lot of time for staff to look all those up, send them to people and then there’s a delay too.”

To find records, users can visit the portal and enter an address or parcel ID number for any location in the county.

Rogalski said increased access to these records could be helpful for the public if they are planning construction projects or buying a new home.

“Let’s say you have a septic system, and you want to put a deck in your backyard, […] you can look that record up now as opposed to previously when you or your contractor would have to put a request in and maybe sometimes wait up to a week to get that paperwork back,” she said.

Summit County Public Health has been working since 2015 to convert and scan files for the online portal. Records from 1959 to 1999 were largely housed on microfilm cards and records from 1999 on were kept on paper. Now, all records are available digitally through the portal.

“We always wanted them in one space digitally,” Rogalski said. “We started the process around 2015 [..] it took a very long time, we were really proud to get it done and get it online for residents of Summit County.”

She said the process took many years because of the over 100,000 files, many of which had to be reviewed manually because of misspellings of addresses or changes made across the county in the last 60 years.

Rogalski said the online portal has already found success since being released.

“We’re glad that it’s done and we’re glad that the public is using it,” she said. “We have a lot of data already that shows that most people are getting in there and having successful searches, and it significantly reduced our requested records that goes through staff, so we feel like it’s a success.”

Grace Springer is a journalism student at Kent State University. She is the General Assignment Editor for KentWired and covers executive administration for student media.