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Monday, March 14, 2011

"What happens to the stuff sucked out from the catch basins?"

A Facebook commenter asked us what happens to the material that maintenance trucks suck out of the catch basins. This morning we confirmed the practice with a representative of our Sewer System Maintenance & Operations department.

First point of clarification, catch basins (the collection points you often see along the street curb) are maintained and cleaned by your local municipality, not the Regional Sewer District. But common procedures do exist.

Normally, the material pulled out of catch basins is trash, like paper, plastic bottles, and other floating debris. Any water that gets sucked up in that collection process is drained into a sewer, and the debris is taken to a landfill for disposal. But if the material is mostly grit, it can be brought to a treatment plant and processed.


  1. Yes, failure to properly dispose of street sweepings (or stuff in catch basin) is a violation of Part III.B.6.d.iii.3 of the Ohio EPA General Storm Water NPDES Permit for Small
    MS4s #OHQ000002 and is open dumping under Ohio Revised Code 3734.03 and Ohio Administrative Code 3745-27-05(C). Please note that sweepings
    must be disposed of as solid waste.

  2. "drained into a sewer" Do you mean a sanitary sewer or a storm sewer, NEORSD?

  3. @anonymous: Thanks for asking. The water we collect when cleaning catch basins is either discharged to a sanitary sewer or taken to one of our treatment plants. One member of our sewer maintenance staff noted that in Cleveland, most sewers are combined (which means they transport storm and wastewater to a treatment plant in the same pipe) and many catch basins tie to sanitary sewers, so there are some circumstances in which it may be acceptable to discharge to the same basin after cleaning.


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