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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ACTION: Start a movement. Join your voices and #RespectTheFlush

Give your drain the acclaim it deserves.

Every time you flush a toilet, drain your sink, or pass a manhole cover along the curb, amazing unseen things are happening that protect public health and the environment. What can you do to show you #RespectTheFlush?

To raise awareness of the value of our water resources, the Value of Water Coalition imagines a Day Without Water October 6-8 across the country. To complement that, one can not overlook the importance of the gray and green systems in place protecting them.

How do you Respect The Flush? Here are 5 simple ideas.

Don't flush wipes.
Disposable wipes are convenient, but they wreak havoc on sewer systems and damage equipment in treatment plants. Throw your baby wipes in the garbage instead of flushing them. And while you're at it, the same goes for the rest of the things on this list.

Friday, September 25, 2015

LOOK: Have a peek at the restoration plans for two Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft sites

Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft site 5
Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft site4
With the Euclid Creek Tunnel now complete on time and under budget, the Sewer District has set its sights on site restoration at two important community locations: Shaft 4 at Triangle Park at East 174 Street, and Shaft 5 at Nottingham Road and St. Clair Avenue.

The restoration contract was awarded to Nerone & Sons, Inc. on July 16, 2015. Substantial completion for the two site restorations shown above is expected in the spring of 2016.

The Euclid Creek Tunnel is the first of seven tunnels that will be completed under Project Clean Lake. When the Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station is complete at the end of 2016, the Euclid Creek Tunnel will be fully operational and will reduce combined sewer overflow by approximately 368 million gallons per year.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

FAQ: 38 questions and answers about our #StormwaterProgram, next steps, fees, and more

Since the September 15 Ohio Supreme Court ruling, we have already begun responding to common questions about the program restart, fees, credits, cost-sharing, and more. We revisited some of the questions that existed prior to the program's suspension in 2013 and added a few we've started answering in recent days.

Updated September 25, 2015 / March 31, 2016

Background and basics: About the program

Why is regional stormwater management necessary?
Stormwater-related problems must be addressed regionally because what happens in one community can affect another. Often one community addresses a problem and may inadvertently move that problem downstream to the next community. Managing stormwater flows is necessary to protect our natural resources, reduce streambank erosion and decrease the pollutants in streams and rivers. If these issues are not addressed today, the problems will continue to get worse and will be more costly to solve in the future.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NEWS: CLEvsPIT rivalry, @neorsd faced @alcosanWWTP and clean water was the winner

Open House attendance increase tops 228% over last year as two sewer districts compete in Open House visitors, social media

Mark the Mad Scientist amazed guests at Saturday's record-setting Open House.

With the help of our 1,725 guests last Saturday, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District flushed Pittsburgh! Attendance at the 8th Annual Open House was 228 percent higher than last year's, sweeping the 5.12 percent attendance boost by Alcosan (the regional sewer district in Pittsburgh).

A friendly contest was held between the two agencies to determine which event, both held on the same day, would draw higher attendance numbers. The results came in Tuesday, and both utilities had numbers to be proud of.

  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
    • 2014: 525 attendees
    • 2015: 1,725 attendees
    • Percentage increase: 228% (Greatest increase)
  • Alcosan
    • 2014: 1,915 attendees
    • 2015: 2,013 attendees (Highest attendance)
    • Percentage increase: 5.12%

Thursday, September 17, 2015

TIPS: Rain garden resources and stormwater solutions you can use at home

Simple steps around your home can have big benefits in your yard and in our region.

On-site stormwater management helps protect water quality and reduce flooding and erosion, but having a comprehensive list of common best practices can be overwhelming. Many local watershed groups provide tips and resources. Here, we've listed a few of our favorites to give you quick access to the manuals, worksheets, and diagrams that may simplify your search.

NEWS: Euclid Creek Tunnel completed $3.6 million under budget

First tunnel under Project Clean Lake now complete, sets benchmark for future cost-saving opportunities

Tunnel boring machine Mackenzie being disassembled
after completing her Euclid Creek Tunnel route,
September, 2013
Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Board of Trustees passed Resolution 238-15, a Final Adjusting Change Order, for the Euclid Creek Tunnel. As a result of outstanding project management, this contract will close $3,602,637.77 under budget.

The Euclid Creek Tunnel, originally a $198 million project, is the first in a series of storage tunnels constructed as a part of Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District’s 25-year, $3 billion program to drastically reduce the amount of combined sewage entering local waterways annually.

“Our engineering and construction team worked diligently to complete this project under budget,” said Kellie Rotunno, Chief Operating Officer, “The Euclid Creek Tunnel sets a new financial benchmark as we continue to identify cost-savings and save our customers money.”

The Sewer District has already realized $330 million in savings since the inception of Project Clean Lake. This savings has come from value engineering, contract management and a highly competitive bidding environment.

“I am proud of all the accomplishments we’ve made during my tenure as CEO,” said Julius Ciaccia, CEO. “Project Clean Lake is one of the region’s largest infrastructure investments and this tunnel system will keep hundreds of millions of gallons of combined sewage out of Lake Erie each year.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

LIST: 3 things to know about yesterday's #StormwaterProgram ruling

1. First things first, we are reviewing the ruling now. 
Since yesterday's decision, a lot needs to happen before the Regional Stormwater Management Program—suspended since September of 2013—gets back up and running. Our priority now is to review the official decision and determine a plan for reorganizing and re-implementing.
2. No fees will be charged until after an official plan is back in place.
Several media outlets yesterday implied that fees (or incorrectly referred to as taxes) were imminent and customers would see them in the near future. That is not the case.

While we had a fee structure in place in 2013, no official tiers have been established for the relaunch, and so you should not expect to see a stormwater fee on your bill until well after we have set a new implementation schedule. We will keep customers informed through traditional media, social media, bill messages and a mailing to all customers as decisions are made.

When the program was halted, we had collected about $20 million (archived story) worth of the fees between January and September of 2013. An early step, as we told yesterday, will be for us to request that those monies be released from escrow so we can begin putting those dollars to work solving immediate stormwater problems.
3. The problems of 2013 still exist, and the solution is still regional. 
Since the program's suspension in 2013, stormwater projects like stream maintenance to reduce flooding and erosion were put on hold. In some cases, stormwater problems have become worse.
The same logic for a regional program back then remains applicable today. Stream problems that cross community boundaries can not always be addressed within a single municipality's limits, which is why we advocated for—and the Court agreed we have the authority to manage—a regional solution.

As we move forward now with full approval from the Ohio Supreme Court, our mission remains the same: Keep our Great Lake great.
What questions do you have? Post them here, or tweet or message us so we can be sure to add them to a frequently asked questions post in the near future.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

STORMWATER: Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of #StormwaterProgram

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s appeal concerning the Regional Stormwater Management Program. Read the ruling.

The Sewer District, under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6119 and founding charter, is not only authorized to manage stormwater, but impose a fee for that purpose.

The Regional Stormwater Management Program is designed to address flooding, streambank erosion and water quality issues throughout much of Northeast Ohio.

RELATED STORIES: 3 things to know now that a #StormwaterProgram ruling has been made

“This is a great victory for the region,” said Darnell Brown, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees President. “Stormwater is causing damage and inter-community flooding problems, and we can now tackle this growing problem with a regional solution.”

Friday, September 11, 2015

RIVALRY: Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland? Clean water is the business, but this could get dirty 9/19. #neorsdTOUR

We're taking the Cleveland/Pittsburgh rivalry off the field and into the water.

The Sewer District's Open House is Saturday, September 19, the same day Pittsburgh's Allegheny County Sanitary Authority ALCOSAN hosts their annual event. The two agencies will go head-to-head in a battle of attendance and social media.

RSVP: Join us at our September 19 Open House, and register early for a chance to win a prize pack!

Both @neorsd and @alcosanWWTP hope to draw well over a thousand guests each, but bragging rights will go to the winner with
  • Highest overall attendance
  • Greatest increase over 2014's event attendance
  • Most event mentions on social media September 19
"Treating wastewater is our business," said Jeannie Chapman, @neorsd Manager of Community & Media Relations, "but there's sure to be a little trash talking come Saturday."

We encourage our social media followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to mention our accounts or #neorsdTOUR to support your Cleveland wastewater treatment authority. And if you throw in any Pittsburgh jokes, be creative, at least try to keep them like our treated water: Clean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SCIENCE: Bro, do you even science? Meet (or remember) Mr. Wizard, the original Science Guy

Mr. Wizard was Bill Nye before Bill Nye was The Science Guy.

While preparing lab experiments and activities for our September 19 Open House (ahem, register today), a tweet came across our @WallyWaterdrop feed:

As author of this blog, I'm a child of the 1980s, back when Mr. Wizard was a staple on Nickelodeon. But even well before that, Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert was televising science experiments in the 1950s and '60s, showcasing the hands-on homemade wonders he created in his garage.

It turns out that The Science Guy Bill Nye was one of many kids captivated by Herbert's wizardry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

CAREERS: Military Employment dialogue to be featured among #neorsdTOUR Open House events 9/19

Among the many exhibits, tours, and presentations slated for our September 19 Open House, a special conversation about Military Employment will be featured twice throughout the day to highlight career opportunities for veterans.

"Veterans bring a really unique skill set and an extraordinary commitment to serving the community," said Human Resources Manager David Feinerman, "to serving the American way of life; and that's what we do at the Sewer District, as well."

Join our Open House September 19 and stop by our Inside Stage and 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to learn more. With more than 600 employees and 200 different job titles, we may have opportunities to help you put your skills to work.

The Sewer District has been recognized this year among Northeast Ohio's Top Workplaces and recently earned a spot in NorthCoast99's Best Places to Work for the first time in its history.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

EVENT: You really gotta go. To the #neorsdTOUR Open House September 19

If urine need of a fun, free, family-friendly event, then you’ve really gotta go. To the Sewer District’s annual Open House.

On September 19, the Sewer District will open its doors to the public to answer the question, "Where Does It Go?" Be there.

At the Open House, guests will have opportunities to tour the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center—the largest treatment plant of its kind in the State of Ohio—and conduct experiments with Mark the Mad Scientist in the laboratory. Explore the soon-to-debut Sewer Simulator, and sit behind the wheels of our work trucks.