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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

VIDEO: What's happening under Public Square in Cleveland?

Behind the concrete barriers and orange construction fencing at the corner of Superior and Ontario, there is an overwhelming amount of activity taking place to renovate Public Square. showcased aerial images of the site's progress in a recent story as crews rush to take advantage of good weather to stay on schedule for a 2016 completion. But what's happening underground?

Often overlooked is the infrastructure that will help improve water quality and manage stormwater at the same time, innovations that will increase greenspace on the site and promote sustainability.

Stormwater Technical Specialist David Ritter recently took us behind the barriers to give us an idea of how this "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity that began last October is taking shape and how sewer improvements have a positive effect on Lake Erie.

"The Sewer District saw this as an opportunity to manage stormwater in a highly urbanized environment," Ritter said, "and was able to work with [partners] to leverage the work that was already going on here at Public Square."

Monday, July 20, 2015

TRENDS: No, #Sharknado3 would not affect Great Lakes, but raining sea lampreys would be a thing of nightmares

Despite a sketchy 1954 report of a bull-shark attack on Lake Michigan, fears of a Great Lakes Sharknado is nothing to keep you up at night.

But could any Great Lakes monster rain from the sky in a so-bad-it's-good made-for-SyFy-channel movie? Our investigators named one.

"I would say the sea lamprey," said Supervisor of Environmental Assessment Seth Hothem.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PROFILE: Sewer crew goes all MacGyver, solving a clog with hose, fishing line, remote-controlled drone

What could a sewer maintenance crew possibly be doing with a drone, fishing wire, machetes, and 600 feet of rubber tubing?

Add a roll of duct tape and cue the MacGyver theme? You could say so. But the reality is they were clearing a sewer blockage with a little ingenuity.

Monday, July 13, 2015

NEWS: Renewable Energy Facility recognized as @USGBC leader in energy, environmental design

In 2009, the District began designing a new incineration facility that would conserve resources, reduce air emissions, and generate electricity.

Six years later, the Renewable Energy Facility (REF) has been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, for its sustainability features including water efficiency, innovation, and indoor environmental quality.

The LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, program is the most widely used green-building rating system, with 1.7 million square feet of construction space certified every day. See the REF's official LEED scorecard.

This certification is a reflection of the facility’s success in saving money and resources, while promoting renewable, clean energy. Compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings consume less energy and less water, with lower maintenance costs, higher occupant satisfaction, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

—Story by Communications Specialist Yolanda Kelly. Thanks to Kellie Rotunno, Jim Bunsey, Tom Vasel, Steve Janosko, and everyone who worked to get the REF LEED Gold Certified.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

WATCH: Here's what a 260-foot crane ride looks like.

When you talk about underground work, "heights" are not something that comes to mind. But to get into and out of our Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station project in Bratenahl, workers need to take this crane ride that may leave some of you catching your breath.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LIST: 5 reasons mayflies are nothing like giant mutated man-eating ants

When meteorologist Mark Johnson posted a radar image yesterday of a cloud of mayflies swarming over Lake Erie, it was almost intimidating, like something you'd see in a B-movie trailer foretelling a fight scene between mutated bugs and a clan of outmatched but gutsy Clevelanders.

One move that came to mind is 1977's Empire of the Ants (what do you mean you've never seen it?!) But before you stock up on bunker supplies and take cover, there is really no reason to fear mayflies.

Here are five reasons a swarm of mayflies are so nothing like the ants of 1977 B-movie fame.

PIC: Soooo this swarm of bugs is so thick you can see it on radar?

So that blob on the weather radar? It's not a storm. It's a swarm.

WEWS Chief Meteorologist Mark "Still not a foul" Johnson shared this photo via Twitter last night:

Seriously? Enough mayflies out over the lake that the mass is visible ON RADAR? Yes, and it's common.

Mark wrote up a good explanation of mayflies and their mating habits, including a mention of what their presence across Ohio's north coast means for water quality. These insects are a sign that water quality is good, and their reappearance each season shows that Lake Erie's health has improved in recent decades.

So while challenges to Lake Erie remain, these bugs are nothing to be scared of. Unless of course they rise up against humanity.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NOTICE: Water quality advisory posted at Edgewater as a result of early morning storm, overflow

This morning, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District posted a public advisory at Edgewater Beach, a result of a combined sewer overflow (CSO) event which discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie during this morning’s heavy rain storm.

Visitors—particularly children, the elderly and those in ill health—are advised to avoid contact with the water and debris.

“Edgewater is yet another example of why we need to continue to be aggressive in investing in our sewer infrastructure, particularly if want to continue to capitalize on the good work of the Cleveland Metroparks and those who are developing along the lakefront,” said Sewer District Chief Executive Officer Julius Ciaccia recently.

“Otherwise, to ignore the problems, like combined sewer overflows, stormwater run-off, failing septic systems, and illicit connections of sanitary sewage to storm sewers, that plague our local waterways would be irresponsible, and would squander the past investments made to keep our Great Lake great.”

Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the volume of CSO by half—from 9 billion gallons to 4.5 billion gallons—and continues efforts to reduce CSO from entering local waterways. The Sewer District has $3 billion plan—Project Clean Lake—which will further reduce overflows from 4.5 billion gallons to 500 million gallons by 2036 through the construction of large-scale storage tunnels, green infrastructure, and wastewater treatment plant upgrades.