Stay connected. Subscribe today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BREAKING: Supreme Court sets September 9 date to hear #StormwaterProgram case

In a week in which heavy storms flooded and affected many communities in eastern Cleveland suburbs, the Ohio Supreme Court has set a date for hearing oral arguments of a monumental case of regional stormwater management.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments September 9, in which the Sewer District will present its case that it is authorized to charge a fee and manage problems caused by stormwater runoff across the region.

The fee was expected to collect $35 million per year to address cross-community stream flooding, erosion and maintenance issues until an appeals court ruling suspended the program last September.

Since then, several significant storms have wreaked havoc on local communities while $20 million has sat in escrow while the program is halted.

"It is clear a majority of the Sewer District’s member communities and others understand the significant benefit of the program," Sewer District Executive Director Julius Ciaccia has stated previously.

“This of great public interest, not just to our region, but to all Ohioans,” said Director of Law Marlene Sundheimer.

Related stories:

PICS: Interns' turn to make a difference in East Cleveland day of service

Our work for clean water takes place in treatment plants, offices, along streams, and in the communities we serve.

Last week, 60 of our interns spent a day of service cleaning Forest Hills Park in East Cleveland with other local volunteers. It was one of a variety of experiences we offer students to bring them closer to the work we do and its impact on our neighborhoods.

Learn more about career opportunities at 

VIDEO: Broken water main floods UCLA campus with 10 million gallons of water

When a 90+ year old water main broke under the campus of UCLA yesterday afternoon, spewing up to 10 million gallons of water in the air and down streets like waterfalls, it looked like this.

USA Today reported that in some places, up to seven feet (!) of water was being diverted into storm drains, which would drain to nearby waterways carrying any surface pollutants along with it.

Had something like this happened in a combined sewer community, where stormwater and sewage flow in the same pipe—like in Cleveland—it would have inundated treatment plants (treating a majority of it) and risked overflowing into the environment.

To think that all of this water and wastewater is flowing under your feet in pipes deep underground at any given time, typically without any thought from residents on the surface, is simply amazing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FUN: @EPAWater plays Kardashians app, but here are 5 better water games you can play.

Of all the games a water-focused agency could play, it had to be this one?

EPA Water's Twitter account posted a status update July 22, saying the account holder had reached the C-List level of the Kardashian: Hollywood app. Chances are the user had mistakenly posted the update to the organization's account rather than his or her personal Twitter.

Hey, it happens, right?

While Kardashian: Hollywood or Candy Crush may be your mobile vices, we have five better suggestions for more water-friendly educational games and apps.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

HEALTH: Coffee, your colon, and how your brew affects your morning movement

Your morning ritual of a cup of joe likely has an effect on your other morning rituals.

The blunt but apparently popular question—"Why does coffee make me poop?"—makes its round on common news and health websites. There seems to be agreement that caffeine and other substances from the brew do often get our colonic muscles going, generating a reaction in our bodies similar to eating a meal.

Cleveland Clinic's HealthHub offers other educational resources on digestive health and dietary recommendations. Might be worth scrolling through as you enjoy your next cup.

With all the coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks so popular, does it have any affect on wastewater? Caffeine actually is a notable substance we find in wastewater, and it's one of several contaminants, like pharmaceuticals and even artificial sweeteners, we and other agencies across the country are actively monitoring in the environment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WATCH: Soar high above the beautiful complexity of the wastewater treatment process

While snapping some new aerial photographs for an upcoming publication, photographer J. Quinn let the video camera roll providing us some great footage of our largest treatment plant, Southerly in Cuyahoga Heights.

Friday, July 11, 2014

TIPS: 5 common car repairs and replacements to protect the environment

Many Americans are seeking more sustainable alternatives to common household cleaners and chemicals. That's not always easy when it comes to maintaining your car.

Although there are few alternatives to automotive fluids, there are still many things that can be done to lessen the impact our cars have on the environment.

In the course of maintaining automobiles, motorcycles, boats, lawnmowers, and other machines, it is important to dispose of all fluids properly because most are hazardous to human and animal health and the environment.

Here are five common automotive tips, repairs and replacements.

Monday, July 7, 2014

LOOK: Speechless. Weird toilet exhibition opens at Tokyo's science museum.

Poo slide, singing toilets, "feces" role plays, brown curly-cue hats, and MORE!? I'm not sure whether to be shocked or start Googling where to buy tickets. Hey, why not both?

It may seem beyond the pale, but there are so many educational opportunities here in this toilet-themed science museum exhibit in Tokyo that it's hard not to find something intriguing. [Mental note to pass these suggestions to our 2014 Open House planning committee...]

CAREERS: Commitment, service are at the heart of the skills veterans bring to work

John Corn, a US Navy and Marines veteran and one-year Sewer District employee, recently shared his story in an interview with Crain's Cleveland Business at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair at the Cleveland Public Auditorium on June 26, 2014.

"The most important thing is to take a breath [and] to relax," was John’s advice to service men, women and their families who are transitioning to civilian life and into the Northeast Ohio workforce. 

As he told Crain's Cleveland Business Sections Editor Amy Ann Stoessel, he understands from experience that reentering the workforce after service can be intimidating, but it is a very reachable goal. "You've got all the confidence on earth. You've done things that most people shudder at the thought of doing. You can do it."


The Sewer District was a proud participant in the Job Fair, discussing career opportunities with hundreds of participants.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

NEWS: Board officers are re-elected for 2014-2015 term

On July 3, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees re-elected Darnell Brown as President and Ronald D. Sulik as Vice President. The Board has also elected Walter O’Malley as Secretary.

Brown was first appointed to the Board by former Cleveland Mayor Michael White in 2001 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for the City of Cleveland. He previously served as Board President 2005-2011.

Sulik previously served on the Board from 1985-1994, was re-appointed in 2002 and most recently served as Vice President for 2010-2014. He represents the Sewer District’s 61 suburban communities and has held the positions of President, Vice President and Secretary throughout his 19-year tenure.

O’Malley, current President of IBEW Local 38, was appointed to the Board in 2009 by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. He previously served as Acting Secretary, replacing former Secretary Sheila E. Kelly following her retirement in March 2014.

“We've had many important issues in front of us [in the last year],” Brown said. "We'll have many more. We must do our due diligence on green infrastructure, and get closure on stormwater [management]. Those are two key issues for us."

"We want to do all we can to ensure that this agency continues to maintain its national and regional reputations," he added.

Board appointees serve five-year terms and the complete list of Board Members is available online.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

HISTORY: What were toilets like in 1776?

Whether America is celebrating its founding fathers or its independence, we ask a question about one item most of us are quite dependent upon today:

What were toilets like in 1776?

To understand the privies of the day, it's best to look at the entire state of sanitation overall in the late 1700s.

At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolutionary War, sanitation left much to be desired. Disease spread easily, especially among troops in the close quarters of army barracks.

As Edward Park put so plainly:
...eighteenth century troops stank. The citizens of Williamsburg (Virginia) would have smelled pretty ripe, too. It's safe to assume that we would have found the entire Old Dominion—in fact, all thirteen colonies—afflicted with B.O. And since everyone stank, no one noticed it or recorded it for history.