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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

PROFILES: Operations team's top finish at state competition carries them to nationals this fall

Front: Christen Wood, Doug Dietzel, Dan Valek.
Back: Karl Ellis, Jimmy Spencer, John Corn.

New Orleans, here we come.

In June, the District’s Operations Challenge team competed at the Ohio Water Environment Association (OWEA) competition in Aurora, Ohio, and their top finish guaranteed them a spot at national competition in the Big Easy this fall.

Ops Challenges are held across the nation, and consist of five main events in the areas of Maintenance, Collections, Safety, Laboratory, and Process Control. Accuracy and speed are key to winning.

Our team—Christen Wood, Doug Dietzel, Karl Ellis, Dan Valek, and Jimmy Spencer, led by John Corn—took first place in Division II, first place in the Process Control event, and third place overall. They will represent OWEA in Division II of the national event at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans this September.

“This is the first time in about 20 years that the District has participated in the Ops Challenge,” said Unit Process Manager Christen Wood. “I saw the dedication required and the skills demonstrated and wanted to be a part of it.

“I heard from at least three OWEA reps and a WEF rep how pleased they were that the District is back in the Challenge,” said Operation & Maintenance Deputy Director Frank Foley.

John Corn explained how this type of competition goes hand-in-hand with the District’s training programs. “It creates cohorts who can learn best practices across the industry and incorporate it into work,” he said.

“To win, you can’t be good at just one thing,” explained Wood. “The lab people need to learn Maintenance, for example. Being able to leverage those differences makes the whole team stronger, and you’re learning things you wouldn’t normally come across in your job.”

“Events like this enhance the overall skill level of our staff,” said Corn. “We’re maximizing our capabilities and level of service to our customers.”

RELATED NEWS:
Michael Uva, Senior Communications Specialist

Thursday, May 19, 2016

EVENT: 5 ways our Roadshows are not your typical public meeting

Every year we study rates and make projections for our financial future, we host public meetings to offer customers more information about their fees. This year is no different. But it will be different.

While that information is always critical, the standard introduction/PowerPoint/Q&A/thank-you-and-goodnight public-meeting structure does not always benefit those who take time to join us, and it's hard to cover the extent of how we use your sewer fees to protect our environment and your health.

For the first time ever, our series of what we're calling Roadshows—Your Sewer District, the next 5 years—brings an open-house style event across our service area to help you get the most out of the experience. Here's how:

Come when you want
Our evening meetings are open from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and our Saturday event is from 9:00 a.m. until noon. You can join us at any time during those hours to get questions answered, hear a presentation, or speak to our Customer Service reps. All the dates and locations are posted to find the one nearest you.

See what you like
The driving force behind these meetings are the proposed rates for the years 2017-2021. We know there are questions and concerns, and we'll have presentations scheduled every half-hour during the events. But we'll also have information booths about previous, current, and future construction projects, our lab work, our maintenance responsibilities, and more. Stop and visit any or all of the areas of most interest to you. It's where your sewer bill goes every quarter.


Talk to and hear from the experts
Our financial folks know finances. But they may not be experts in permit limits, traffic woes due to construction, or how to sign up for a cost-saving program. We'll have plenty of the right people there to help you.

Get questions answered
Do you want to know about stormwater fee credits? Or how your business can get registered as a vendor with us for work opportunities? The experts will know what you need and you'll find help at these events.

Take advantage of opportunities
Cost-savings, vendor registration, career opportunities, tour and presentation requests, all of these are opportunities to benefit you. Stop by and take action with a member of our team.


Monday, April 25, 2016

NEWS: Special Sewer District Board of Trustees Meeting tomorrow April 25

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at 11 a.m. to review the Sewer District’s preliminary rate study analysis and possible rate schedule for 2017-2021.

The Board will not vote on rate changes at this time.

Rates are determined based on a number of factors, including capital infrastructure investment, debt service, projected consumption and cost-saving program participation, as well as predictive costs for overhead expenses including utility rates and chemical costs.

To help customers understand the Sewer District’s comprehensive plans for the next five years, the organization will conduct a series of informational programs.  These meetings—“Your Sewer District… the next five years”—will be held at the following locations:

Thursday, May 19, 5 – 7 p.m.
Nordonia High School, Auditorium
8006 South Bedford Road, Macedonia, Ohio 44056

Wednesday, May 25, 5 – 7 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Western Campus, B Atrium in B Building
11000 Pleasant Valley Road, Parma, Ohio 44130

Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus, Student Services Building (President’s Plaza)
4250 Richmond Road, Highland Hills, Ohio 44122

Wednesday, June 8, 5 – 7 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Jerry Sue Thornton Center, Ford Room
2500 East 22nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44115


At these events, customers will be able to learn more about the Sewer District’s responsibilities and plans for the next five years.

The events will have an open format and representatives from many Sewer District departments—customer service, operations and maintenance, watershed programs, water quality & industrial surveillance, engineering and construction, and analytical services—will be there to share their department’s responsibilities. There will be several brief presentations throughout the event.

Additional information about “Your Sewer District… the next five years” is available online at neorsd.org/next5 or by contacting Customer Service at 216.881.8247 or askus@neorsd.org.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WATCH: Appreciating clean-water history, future is all about keeping it real



We know it's gross, but it's true!

One hundred years ago, the earliest Cleveland sewers were designed to do little more than carry sewage away from the city, discharging it untreated directly into Lake Erie.

Untreated. Right into Lake Erie.

It wasn't until around 1920 that any kind of wastewater treatment began taking shape at the points where sewers met the Cleveland shoreline. And even into the 1960s, pollution and a lack of regulation plagued water quality, until everything changed in 1969.

Besides the shock of hearing gramps say the word "poop," Billy's reaction in the video is common to what we often hear when we talk about the history of clean water in our region. The work it takes to transport wastewater and treat it safely is complicated and costly, but critical. Appreciating our “sewer history” makes the current challenges clearer and opportunities more exciting.

RELATED STORIES:

Monday, April 18, 2016

#SewerDebate: The 2016 election is about to go down the drain April 26, and for a good reason.


We want to make sewers great again.

Our first-ever #SewerDebate will take place on Twitter all day Tuesday, April 26. You will be able to cast your votes in a series of Twitter polls throughout the day as we pose water and infrastructure questions about the four leading Presidential contenders.

The questions will help us know what the electorate thinks about the priorities and water-quality-related habits of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

The series will also allow followers to share their opinions on a variety of topics regarding the work it takes to protect natural water resources around the country, and important discussion as we prepare for Infrastructure Week May 16.

Join the #SewerDebate and cast your votes April 26 with @neorsd and our @WallyWaterdrop on Twitter.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

WATCH: Watershed Stewardship Center, partners take hands-on approach to education



"Part of the story is that we [didn't] have to leave it as an old landfill."

Cleveland Metroparks Education Specialist Mark Warman recently told Fox8 News' New Day Cleveland the story of the West Creek Reservation. It's a story of the environment, civic engagement, and the future of water quality in the region.

"For 25 years, the City of Parma used this as a municipal landfill." Mark explained that the reservation's history has shaped what grows on and lives in the area. But a commitment by residents and engaged agencies helped restore the natural features of the landscape.

The Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek now brings guests to the reservation. The center was a collaborative commitment of Cleveland Metroparks, the City of Parma, West Creek Conservancy, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to bring a home for watershed and water-quality education to the region.

Programs at the center and its design features shed light on the importance of managing stormwater, reducing pollution, supporting wildlife, and personal responsibility, all of which have a direct effect on our region's quality of life.

"The Stewardship Center was opened in June of 2013," said @neorsd Environmental Education Specialist Linda Mayer. "It features a lot of exhibits about how you can be good stewards, how you can protect your watersheds and what you can do at home to make the environment better. It's a great opportunity to do something a little different and become better environmental citizens."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

LIST: Fees to remedy stormwater problems set to resume in July. 3 things to know in our latest #StormwaterProgram update


Since being authorized last September, the Sewer District has been preparing for a July 2016 restart of assessing regional stormwater management program fees. 

An informational postcard will be mailed to customers this summer to remind them of the upcoming charges, explain how the fee is assessed and spent, and promote opportunities for credits by managing stormwater on their property. Besides the comprehensive FAQ we have available, here are 3 of the latest things to know.

1. The program's plans aim to address stormwater problems

Solving stormwater problems (flooding, erosion, pollution) can be difficult, since runoff from hard surfaces in one community drains into another. A Stormwater Management Program provides a regional approach to these problems. The Sewer District’s Regional Stormwater Management Program addresses flooding, erosion, and pollution problems by:
  • building projects,
  • maintaining streams and large pipes that carry stormwater,
  • addressing regional drainage problems,
  • providing technical expertise to communities, and
  • developing green space.

2. The fee is assessed based on impervious surface.

The more impervious surfaces—parking lots, rooftops, and driveways—on your property, the greater your stormwater fee. Visit our online FeeFinder neorsd.org/FindMyFee to determine your stormwater fee.

Residential properties

The fee is based on an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) equal to 3,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface, such as roof and driveway. The rate for one (1) ERU is $5.15 per month. Residences are placed in one of three categories:
  • Tier 1 (less than 2,000 sq. ft. impervious surface)
  • Tier 2 (2,000 to 4,000 sq. ft.)
  • Tier 3 (more than 4,000 sq. ft.)
For 2016, a Tier 1 house pays $3.09 per month, a Tier 2 house pays $5.15, and a Tier 3 house pays $9.27.

Non-residential properties

A non-residential property is billed on the total number of ERUs of impervious surface it has. Visit our online FeeFinder to determine what you will be charged: neorsd.org/FindMyFee


3. You have opportunities to reduce your stormwater fee.

Customers can receive a fee reduction—known as a fee credit—if they take measures to manage stormwater flowing from their properties. (Examples include rain barrels, rain gardens, and cisterns.) You can learn more about these credits and educational resources at neorsd.org/stormwater or contact a Watershed Team Leader for details about opportunities on your property.

Contact us

If you have stormwater fee questions, check out our FAQ, or you can reach us in several ways:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TRENDING: 5 other things that make Crying Jordan cry


The meme to end all memes wants you to know that some things are worth crying over. Here are five unexpected events that get Crying Jordan all misty.

Seeing you flush your unused meds down the toilet.
Crying Jordan reminds you to dispose of your pills safely. Flushing them can affect health and the environment, and here's why: http://neorsd.org/PitchThosePills


Watching you apply way too much fertilizer on your lawn.
Fertilizer is a key contributor to algae blooms like those in Lake Erie. Stop Jordan's tears by checking out suggestions from Popular Mechanics.


People who leave dog poop without picking it up.
Jordan shouldn't have to see this, too. Help him out. Pick it up, throw it away. http://dogscantflush.org
 

A sink drain clogged with fats, oils and grease.
Don't pour these things down your kitchen drain. Cool them and throw them in the trash to prevent clogs. We also recommend not putting any of these 15 items down your drain.


People who think it's OK to flush disposable wipes.
Oh the tears! Even wipes that are marketed as "flushable" really aren't. They don't break down like toilet paper. Or crying Jordan.