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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FEATURE: Eric's sewer cover design will be a fixture on Project Clean Lake green infrastructure

People are going to look down on and walk all over Eric's artwork for years to come, and those aren't criticisms.

Eric Shebestak of Parma won our Manhole Cover Design Contest over the summer, meaning his illustration will be cast on storm-sewer manhole covers next year as part of several Project Clean Lake green infrastructure projects.

He recently stopped by to pick up his prize and talk with us about the project.

"I work with First Energy along the lake," he said, "so water quality is very important to me, I see it every day."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

VIDEO: Sing along with the #12clogs of Christmas

Sinks, toilets, and drains in general tend to get a little extra work during the holidays, especially if you're hosting house guests.

That's why we created our #12clogs of Christmas infographic last year, and now have put it to song, to help you remember what to keep out of your toilets and drains.

Special thanks to Ruthie Spearman and Michael Uva for the audio!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

LIST: Flush or fiction? 5 of our favorite toilet bowl myths and legends

Handy wipes are flushable: False.

They may say flushable on the package. They are common in bathrooms across the country. But because disposable wipes don't break down in the sewer system like toilet paper does, they can clog a home's plumbing and cause major issues in city treatment systems. Throw wipes in the trash rather than the toilet.

A city sewer system failed when the flow surged beyond capacity during a Super Bowl halftime show: False.

It's a legend that resurfaces every January as teams vie for the big game, but legend is all it is. Green Bay Metro Sewer District said even under the most extreme restroom-rush conditions, the likelihood of a major metropolitan sewer system being unable to handle the flow is slim to none.

Toilet water can splash onto your toothbrush: True.

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters team proved aerosol droplets released from a flushing toilet can be shown to affect surfaces in restrooms. But the test also showed the reaches to which fecal bacteria can be found all throughout the house, something we're well aware of.


The rotation of the earth changes the direction water flows around a toilet bowl: False.

Does the direction of a toilet bowl's spinning water change depending on the hemisphere you're in? No. The earth's rotation does cause something known as the Coriolis effect, but the force of a flushing drain is, as How Stuff Works explains, "much too great to be influenced by something as miniscule as a single, 360-degree turn over the span of a day."

You should flush old or outdated medications down the toilet rather than just throwing them away: False.

Flushing pharmaceutical products is harmful to our water resources. Wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove these medications from the sewage, which means they end up in our waterways. It's best to drop old and unused medications in safe disposal locations and community collection events so they can be disposed of properly.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#BuffaloSnow: 2011 video shows how rain and snow melt can overwhelm streams and sewer systems

Seven feet of snow followed by 60 degree temperatures and rain.

The conditions of Buffalo, NY seem almost surreal, but the area is preparing for flooding anticipated as streams and sewers are surely going to be stressed by the combination of warming temps, snow melt and stormwater this week.

Northeast Ohio faced a similar situation in February 2011. The snowfall totals then were nowhere close to the 80+ inches Buffalo faced last week, but the already saturated ground beneath a layer of snow-pack caused surface runoff volumes to spike, overwhelming sewers and streams.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TECH: The movement behind the poop emoji, or Why talking #2 should be less taboo

I never realized the poop emoji had such a history.

Then again, many could say the same thing about the work it takes to get the poop out of wastewater: I never realized it had such a history.

Fast Company recently recounted how emojis—the tiny graphics that have become staples of the instant-messaging and social-media experience—came into existence, specifically the long but fascinating road Google traveled to bring the poop to the US and how it became the means of expression it is today.

The poop and emojis like it had origins in Japan in 1999, and the story examines how the cartoon expressions help tell stories and convey thoughts in ways that words can't. The push to include the poop in earliest emoji offerings was hard-fought, and judging on its prevalence today, the argument to do so was well-founded.

There's another relevant connection we see. The poop or poop-no-anim or poop-with-eye expressions all relate well to the work of wastewater treatment:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

QUIZ: Are you one of the 2.5 billion? #WorldToiletDay

More than 2.5 billion people around the world suffer from improper sanitation. In honor of World Toilet Day, we can determine if you're one of them by this simple quiz. Take it and see.

EVENT: East Cleveland community meeting will discuss upcoming green projects this Thursday 11/20

On Thursday, November 20, at 5:30 p.m., the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will host a meeting for East Cleveland residents and business owners to discuss a future green infrastructure project, the “East 140th Street South Green Infrastructure Projects.”

The meeting will take place at the East Cleveland Public Library (14101 Euclid Ave., East Cleveland). Sewer District representatives will discuss possible neighborhood amenities and gather input from residents and the local business community.

Green Infrastructure project locations include:
  • Near Euclid Avenue and Page Avenue
  • Near Hayden Avenue and Scioto Avenue
  • Near Hayden Avenue and 1st Avenue.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ALGAE: In wake of Toledo's algae woes, investigation takes deeper look at causes, solutions (Video)

Is the toxic algae that led to Toledo's three-day "DO NOT DRINK" declaration this summer a threat to Cleveland in the future?

While Cleveland's lake conditions differ from those of the western Lake Erie basin, when our Great Lake is threatened, all of its neighbors need to take notice.

This week, Fox 8 News' I-TEAM ran a two-part series focused on the toxic algae bloom that led to Toledo's water ban in August, asking questions about the decisions made, the testing methods employed, and future work being considered to keep our lake and the surrounding residents safe. The videos and their complete reports are linked below.