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Friday, October 22, 2010

Why are my sewer rates going up? Public meetings will answer

In anticipation of huge infrastructure investments and their potential impact on your sewer rates, the Sewer District will hold six public meetings between November 4 and 17 to detail the plan, the benefits of reducing raw sewage discharges to the environment, and what it means to customers. Download the full release [PDF]

Cleveland – In an effort to fully inform customers about the Project Clean Lake program, a series of capital improvement projects designed to stop raw sewage from entering local waterways during heavy rain events, and the potential impact on future rate increases, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) will hold six public meetings beginning November 4, 2010 through November 17, 2010.  The meetings will be held at 7pm at the following locations:

  • Thursday, November 4 - South Euclid @ the South Euclid Community Center
    • 1370 Victory Road, South Euclid 44121
  • Monday, November 8 - Hudson @ Barlow Community Center
    • 41 S. Oviatt, Hudson 44236
  • Tuesday, November 9 - Cleveland @ Mt. Sinai Church
    • 7510 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland 44104
  • Wednesday, November 10 - Maple Heights @ Maple Heights Library
    • 5225 Library Lane, Maple Heights 44137
  • Tuesday, November 16 - Cleveland (West) @ Gunning Recreation Center
    • 16700 Puritas Ave, Cleveland 44135
  • Wednesday, November 17 - Parma @ Memorial Hall
    • 6617 Ridge Rd, Parma 44129

Currently, NEORSD is at the end of its negotiations with the Federal and State governments and, as a result, both parties will enter into a Consent Decree, which details Project Clean Lake, its timeframe and cost. The Consent Decree, which will assist NEORSD in meeting Clean Water Act regulations, is a legally binding document entered into by NEORSD, the Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The Consent Decree is anticipated to be signed by all parties in by the end of 2010.

Components of Project Clean Lake, a proposed $3 billion, 25-year capital program, will reduce the total volume of raw discharges from 4.5 billion gallons to .49 billion (or 494 million) gallons annually.  It will include the construction of large-scale tunnels and the use of green infrastructure to minimize the amount of stormwater making its way to the sewer system. Additionally, the plan is expected to increase rates significantly. 

"Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the amount of raw sewage discharging into the environment by half – from 9 billion gallons in early 1970s to 4.5 billion gallons today," stated Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. "This plan will compliment the District’s past work while helping us to comply with the Clean Water Act."

In 1972, the Clean Water Act was created to address water quality issues, like raw sewage discharges. It employs a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to sharply reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways and manage polluted runoff. Although NEORSD has reduced raw sewage discharges significantly over the years and holds permits for discharge points, the EPA alleges NEORSD is in violation of the Clean Water Act because not all discharges have been controlled to required levels.

Similar to other mid-west cities, sewers in Greater Cleveland were designed and built to transport both sanitary sewage and rain water in one pipe.  During a heavy rain event, the pipe can become too full, discharging raw sewage into the environment.  Like NEORSD, other mid-west cities, including Cincinnati, Columbus and Kansas City, just to name a few, negotiated or continue to negotiate a long-term plan to address the discharges.  In total, there are nearly 800 communities across the country facing similar sewer problems, including 86 in the State of Ohio. Most of those cities are under or are negotiating similar consent decrees and are raising rates accordingly. 

The NEORSD Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the adoption of the Consent Decree by the end of the year and during a NEORSD public meeting.  The board will vote on the 2012 to 2016 rate increases in late 2011.  Another series of public meetings will be scheduled in late 2011.

For additional information, please contact Jeannie Chapman, NEORSD Public Information Specialist, at 216-881-6600 or 216-214-2215.


  1. how can you ask people to give you more money when you cannot manage the money you are getting . look at the forcloser rate it doesnot pay to own a home no more i can not afford to pay that much of a increase you should be a shamed of youselfs to ask for that increase i havened had a raise in 4 years

  2. you people should be ashamed to ask for that kind of increase when unemployed is at a all time high

  3. clean the streets more often then there would not be much trash going in sewers

  4. read the paper more often people the northeast ohio regional has mismanaged money for years and do you really what to give them more money

  5. All you people at the NEORSD ARE NUTS. We just had a raise in our rates for garbage collections. Now you want to STEAL more money from us for your projects im all for the clean bill BUT WE THE PEOPLE HAVE NO MORE MONEY TO GIVE!!!!!!

  6. Are we Northeast Ohio Residents funding this entire project??? We most certainly are not the only communities that surround this great Lake, what are the other states rate increases looking like? The district says that we can afford the increase because incomes are expected to increase 4 percent a year, are you kidding me, I haven't had a raise in 4 years. I am afraid to ask for one because of the current economy- I'm afraid I will end oup on the unemployment line. Such an increase of this magnitude will truly be detrimental to our communities. This will affect everyone , not just homeowners and business owners. THis will affect renters as well. Alot of people don't understand what is going on, It is very scary-Its a shame that there is not more media attention to this matter- this is something that should be on the news and on the front page of the news paper -everyday. I attended my block club meeting last night and I was so surprised that not many people know what is going on and how this is going to affect them, same with my co-workers. Since obviously the major news networks are doing service to the community- we need to rely on social media to get this out. I call for everyone to put out major blasts on facebook, twitter, you name it and ask everyone that they know come out to these town hall meeting and stand hand in hand and tell NEORSD you are not going to do this to us. We need to stand up and support The mayor of Middleburg Heights- what a noble man, more city officals and heck local congressman and senators need to back us up. We vote in these officials- the least that they can do is stand up for us and try to do everything in their power to stop such an increase. If the EPA mandates that this needs to be done- then the Federal Government can find a way to BAIL this out- we should go stand on the white house lawn and demand a bailout- Obama can put America to work and fund this project. Trillions of dollars were spent to rebuild Iraq- this is our own backyard- where is the help for our people.

  7. the same guy that ran the water department for soo many years is in charge of the sewer district you see what has happened all he cares about is filling his pocket

  8. newspapers and news should be ashamed them selfs for not saying that this is a bum deal for the hard working people

  9. got to get rid of guy in charge of norrheast ohio sewer disdrict he is the same guy that ran the water department in the ground

  10. get a real boss someone that cares about the citizens and not about how much goes in his pocket

  11. where does the district see that we can afford to pay for this? many people are struggling to survive now, robbing peter to pay paul. So many people are out of work, so many foreclosures. People are already cutting back, what happens when people can't afford to pay the water/sewer? Their water is going to be shut off, once the water is off you can't charge for sewer as there is no water usage. THis rate increase is legalized theft if you ask me. School district levies keep failing because people can't afford the tax increases, we can't even get a say or vote on this rate increase. The EPA/Fed. Government and NEORSD should be ashamed of themselves.

  12. It is easy to understand the need for sewer repair and improvements. Our sewers, water mains, bridges, and many other aspects of our infrastructure were built 80 to 100 years ago, and are falling apart from old age. However, the people are suffering from an economic recession, unemployment is high, there are way too many forclosures happening, and this is the wrong time for a rate increase. Intelligent administration would wait a few years for the economy to strengthen, and then make these plans. A large rate increase at this time would make the recession worse, or is that what the administration wants?

  13. These rate increases are an outrage! Cleveland Water is a government monopoly; they have no competition and captive customers, yet they still can't manage water utilities in a sustainable manner. PRIVATIZE NOW! Let consumers have choices and costs will go down, not up, and water quality will improve dramatically! Where are our public servants and media watchdogs to protect working families from being robbed by government monopolies? Why, they are all in collusion with each other in this and other scams. It's time we got rid of all of 'em! REVOLUTION NOW!!


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