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Monday, December 31, 2012

NEWS: Rate changes, cost-saving options to keep in mind for 2013

The news on this December 31, 2012 is focused mainly on the fiscal cliff. Whatever Congress decides tonight, it won't have any impact on the sewer rate changes that go into effect in 2013.

The second year of our five-year rate schedule kicks off tomorrow, January 1. The table above is taken from our website and it includes all the relevant links to the affordability program, other cost-saving programs and eligibility criteria, and more.

These changes do not reflect the new regional stormwater management program fees or credit opportunities that begin January 1, 2013. Sewer rate increases in this five-year schedule fund large-scale projects like those included in our 25-year program Project Clean Lake, plus other essential improvements and ongoing maintenance and operation costs.

If you have questions about these rates, or our 2013 stormwater fees, you can email us or tweet us @neorsd or @wallywaterdrop

Friday, December 21, 2012

NEWS: Mayans schmayans, here are 2013 predictions NE Ohioans can count on.

So we have survived the predictions of the apocalypse, but that doesn't mean there aren't important endings and beginnings to talk about.

Here are just a few of our more-certain 2013 predictions as we take a moment to prophesy:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

VIDEO | Shed games: Cool animation explains why watersheds matter

Our friends at the Rocky River Watershed Council shared this video today, something that does a nice job explaining how water flows over the surface of our land and why it matters.

The points relate directly to our regional stormwater management program, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

EVENT: First-ever #h2olidays sweepstakes a chance to win tickets to zoo, aquarium, science center

A sweepstakes from a sewer district? Think of it as a h2oliday offer.

We have had a great year working with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, and the Great Lakes Science Center on projects and promotions, and now we want to share their love of clean water with you.

Just head over to our Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Facebook page, Like us, and then enter our sweepstakes to win a veritable sleigh-full of tickets:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

STORMWATER: Monthly workshops will begin Dec. 10 as opportunity to learn more about program, options

Monthly informational workshops to offer in-person assistance to customers; billing for Regional Stormwater Management Program will begin in January

Beginning December 10, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will conduct regularly scheduled informational workshops for its Regional Stormwater Management Program.

At these informal workshops, residents and business owners will learn more about this regional program. In addition, Sewer District representatives will help customers complete credit applications and explain how impervious area is measured and how fees are calculated using these impervious measurements. Although billing for the program begins January 2013, detailed planning for early-stage projects is already underway.

FUNNY: Hastily made blog entry about Edgewater Beach and Mike Polk, Jr.

Based on this photo of comedian Mike Polk, Jr.'s date-night ideas,
CSO might stand for a "Cleveland Saturday out."

UPDATE: The Plain Dealer's Tipoff column shared this post with Mike, and we're flattered he got a kick out of it. While his Cuyahoga County reference is misstated, the tour offer still stands, hard hats and all.

So this summer, we got some attention on the Alan Cox Show. Now we're getting Cleveland Magazine press time thanks to comedian Mike Polk, Jr.

OK, so it wasn't Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District kudos, but yet another poke at pollution at Edgewater Beach and Polk's Cleveland-date-nights-on-the-cheap. (Love is in the air... Wait, that's not love...).

The November issue of Cleveland Magazine gave a write-up for Polk's new book, which features Edgewater Beach—along with its combined sewer overflow (CSO, the large flap gate you see behind him and his date) and reputation—as an idea for "Cleveland dating on the cheap:" In his words:
If you go on a date to Edgewater Beach, you come back wit several rashes, and that makes getting intimate that much more difficult."
We won't speak to intimacy, but rest assured, Mike. Just as we told Alan Cox, we're working to reduce pollution at places like Edgewater Beach thanks to Project Clean Lake. Think of it as our way of reducing "trash and rash"—fewer overflows of pollution to the environment means cleaner beaches. And this outfall at Edgewater opens less than one time per year, but even that is more than we want, so we're working to do even better. Just sayin'.

So enjoy your nights out at Cleveland establishments. And Mike, you could always add "wastewater treatment plant tour" to your list of chap date nights. We'll even give you and your guest primary treatment.

Monday, November 26, 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: "Will I have to pay a stormwater fee?"

We've seen major traffic on our Stormwater FeeFinder page as customers get a preview of their 2013 charges and credit opportunities associated with our regional stormwater management program.

Some callers and site visitors have asked why their properties are not showing up with a fee summary. The answer is that the property may be outside of our stormwater service area. The graphic below helps to explain the map, legends, who pays the fee, and who will not.

Source: via Wally on Pinterest

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THANKS: Two special animals are grrrr-ateful this Thanksgiving

Many of us are thankful for our pets, but this year, we at the Sewer District were glad to contribute to two happy endings that saved the lives of two very special animals.

Jenni, a two-foot-long alligator, and Rosco, a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix pup, were both rescued by quick actions by Sewer District employees and they are both living happier and healthier lives this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NEWS: Sewer District, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office collaborate on regional firing range

Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center, Cuyahoga Heights

Yesterday, the Board of Trustees for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District approved a resolution allowing the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office to develop and operate a Regional Law Enforcement Firing Range and Training Facility on Sewer District property. This is a 30-year lease agreement.

STORMWATER: How to apply for credits, and where to find the help you need

A customer named Theresa recently asked our Facebook page if we're planning meetings to discuss stormwater program credit opportunities. The answer is Yes.

Starting next month, we will hold monthly evening meetings at our Administration Building for customers who may need assistance applying for credits, or for anyone with questions about the program. We will also present local sessions if a community requests them.

Theresa also mentioned our fee credit manual. If it's tough flipping through the 60+ page full manual to see what opportunities are best for you, consider starting with the abbreviated Residential overview available as a download here under "Ways to save."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ARCHIVES: Her name is Peggy.

Who was she?

We posted this image on our Facebook page in 2011 but had no other information on her at the time. No one in our sewer maintenance department could identify her, and little was known about the equipment it appeared she was using.

It became a favorite photo of mine because it conveyed an employee working with both confidence and purpose, perhaps answering a question from a co-worker or member of our communications team. But was she an employee? When was the photo taken? What was she doing? The interest remained, and the questions remained unanswered.

Until yesterday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UPDATE / #gatorrescue :: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is Jenni's new home

This two-foot-long American alligator—affectionately named Jenni—was rescued from Big Creek in Cleveland last Thursday. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo picked her up this morning and will care for her as part of the zoo's outreach program.

See you later, alligator.

"Jenni," the alligator rescued by a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District crew from Big Creek near Jennings and Harvard Road, has found a new home at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

The 25-inch-long alligator will be in routine quarantine for 30 days at the Zoo’s Center for Zoological Medicine to assess its condition. When it clears the quarantine period, it will be transferred to the Zoo’s Conservation Education Division, where it will be part of the Zoo’s Conservation Education programs including outreach.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NEWS: @neorsd crew rescues 18" alligator from Big Creek

Today, crews from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District rescued an alligator from the shallow waters of Big Creek.

A surveyor saw the reptile in the creek near a sewer outfall and alerted Sewer District crews who were conducting maintenance on the agency’s Jennings Road Pump Station. In an effort to revive it, crews placed the animal in a garbage can with warm water. The alligator is about 18 to 24 inches long and its species was not known. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been alerted.

ARCHIVES: A photograph that changed everything

Like rummaging through family photos from a dusty hatbox in the attic, finding a photo in our Sewer District archives can have amazing emotional impacts.

We found this one today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

STORMWATER: Customer letters in the mail, new fee-estimate tool available online

Yesterday, we mailed our first batch of customer letters to share the latest information on our Regional Stormwater Management Program fees that will be assessed starting January 1, 2013.

The personalized letters include an estimate of your property's quarterly fee, as well as phone numbers and links with more information about the program and possible credit opportunities. Over November and December, the mailing of more than 300,000 customers' letters will be staggered to best manage call volumes and minimize wait times.

TAKE A LOOK: If you'd like to see an advance copy of your letter, we have a sample linked on our Regional Stormwater Management Program homepage.

FIND YOUR FEE: While the letters include customers' property-specific fee estimates, you can find your estimate on our new online FeeFinder map tool. Just enter your property address to see your likely quarterly fee.

CONTACT US: Our Customer Service team is available at (216) 881-8247 or, or you can reach our Stormwater team at You can also message our Facebook page, or tweet us at @neorsd or @wallywaterdrop for more information.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TWEET: "We're not that bad." And getting better.

Our @WallyWaterdrop came across this tweet from Ohio Problems @Ohio_Probs late yesterday. It's still getting RT'd today. In typical "Only In Cleveland" fashion, even Wally had a chuckle at this, but the sewage issue caught our attention.

While our work can't improve our baseball team's standings or locals' dietary choices, the sewage issue is one we are taking off the #OhioProbs list slowly but surely.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NEWS: Wastewater treatment plants operating at capacity, fully treating flows triple the average

SUMMARY: Nearly 1.5 billion gallons of sewage receiving full or partial treatment in last 24 hours; 75-million gallon Mill Creek Tunnel filled; CSOs discharging into environment; plants partially treating bypassing flow.

UPDATE 2012 11/01: WKYC visited our Southerly plant yesterday afternoon to feature the plant staff's efforts to manage the enormous volume of flow. Here's the story.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s three wastewater treatment plants (“Easterly” and “Westerly” in Cleveland, “Southerly” in Cuyahoga Heights) are fully treating flows more than triple the average daily flow. In the last 24 hours, the three wastewater treatment plants fully treated 800 million gallons of wastewater. In addition, another 660 million gallons received primary treatment (solids removal) before being discharged into the environment.

The Sewer District’s 230 miles of interceptor sewers—large sewers that transport sewage to the plants—are transporting additional sewage for treatment. In addition, the Mill Creek Tunnel, capable of holding 75 million gallons of combined sewage, is filled to capacity. Lastly, locally-owned sanitary sewers contain flow as well. There is a tremendous amount of wastewater awaiting treatment.

Although a great deal of sewage is being treated or stored for future treatment, some flow is being discharged into the environment. Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) discharge a mixture of sanitary sewage and stormwater at 126 points throughout the Sewer District’s service area; many of these points have overflowed due to Hurricane Sandy (see photo and video below of CSO along Mill Creek).

Monday, October 29, 2012

#SANDY: Treatment plants prepared for Hurricane Sandy’s impact

A wastewater treatment plant operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s three wastewater treatment plants are prepared for Hurricane Sandy’s impacts, anticipating heavy rains throughout Wednesday and increased wastewater flow volumes 24 hours after the rain subsides.

The Sewer District has increased staffing at the facilities in anticipation of higher-than-average flow. All facilities are equipped with emergency generators, and emergency contracts have been activated to ensure generator service throughout the storm. In addition, overnight maintenance crews have been deployed to address problems within the collection system including blockages.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LIST: Top 4 #h2olloween costume ideas

It's just a week away, and if you're still looking for the Halloween costume that is both trendy and timeless, we have a few ideas for you.

AHHHH! Who wouldn't be scared seeing stormwater drains and culverts clogged with massive amounts of hideous debris? Grab old branches, leaves, bricks and other stream debris to make your own costume. Might want to jump on this one soon, because inspection, clean-up and maintenance is a big part of our Regional Stormwater Management Program in 2013.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NEWS: Arrest made following suspicious call to Sewer District

Authorities determined the call was placed by an employee of a company working on the Renewable Energy Facility project at our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Today, the Cuyahoga Heights Police Department arrested Joshua Petro. The arrest stems from a suspicious call made to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant on Monday, October 22, 2012. Another unnamed Sewer District plant was mentioned in the call, as well. Charges are pending.

Yesterday, at 6:48am, a security officer at Southerly received a phone call allegedly from Petro who indicated that "something would happen at the Southerly Plant and your other plant." The exact type of action to be taken against the plants was not defined in the phone call, nor was the "other plant" identity—Westerly or Easterly—clear.

"Our first concern was to assure that employees, contractors, vendors and visitors were safe," stated Julius Ciaccia, Sewer District Executive Director. "We were able to determine early on in the investigation that safety was not jeopardized."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NEWS: Fish kill investigation benefits from Sewer District's first-responders

Senior Investigator Seth Hothem tests water quality near the fish-kill scene April 25.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is pleased that the grand jury returned indictments against Renato and Teresina Montorsi for allegedly dumping toxic cyanide into a storm sewer, deliberately poisoning tens of thousands of fish last April. This intentional act is a clear infringement of the Clean Water Act.

In Thursday’s story, Grafton couple accused of causing fish kill, the good work performed by local, state and federal agencies was highlighted. Unfortunately, the Sewer District’s exceptional performance was overlooked at the press conference: our employees played a key role in this investigation.

Our employees were among the first investigators on the scene. During the critical first hours, our field investigators collected water samples from the East Branch of the Rocky River and its tributaries. Our laboratory staff quickly and expertly analyzed samples collected by our staff and Cleveland Metroparks rangers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

20 WAYS: Going green well beyond clean

Sure, we've been recycling water since before recycling was cool, but in our line of work, don't we have expectations to do even more when it comes to sustainability?

We do. And we are.

Friday, September 21, 2012

STORMWATER: Workshops for large non-res property owners coming next month

It’s in the mail. Beginning September 21, we will provide large non-residential property owners with Regional Stormwater Management Program fee estimates.

This month, more than 2,500 large property owners will receive stormwater fee estimates and an invitation to a credit workshop.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will begin billing for the Regional Stormwater Management Program in January 2013. Beginning September 21, 2012, the Sewer District will mail letters to large non-residential property owners with impervious (hard) surface area measuring 99,000 or more square feet (33 ERUs, or "Equivalent Residential Unit").

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TRAFFIC HOTLINE: Alerts for 9/18–10/1, 2012

Recorded September 18, 2012
Will be replaced in October, 2012

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has several sewer construction projects that will temporarily impact vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These messages were recorded on September 18 and should remain in effect through the end of the month.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

HEALTHY LAKES: Our support of a national conference in Cleveland makes sense

The Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Restoration Conference is visiting Cleveland this week and is wrapping up today. The Sewer District has been fortunate to add to the stormwater-management and pollution-reduction conversation, and a blog post at Healthy Lakes from our own Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells summarizes why our support here makes sense.

Kyle also presented a case for our efforts on Great Lakes Now during the conference coverage.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

#neorsdTOUR: Twitter, tickets, and contests

While the forecast is gray for this morning's Open House, rain won't stop the fun we're planning.

Part of the fun includes a #find4 QR code scavenger hunt and a Twitter sweepstakes. If you plan to play along, here are the rules.

QR code contest details are posted at

For our Twitter contest, don't create multiple accounts, one correct answer/entry per person, and the winner will be drawn randomly from the correct answers after the event.

All Twitter contest entries must include the #neorsdTOUR hash tag and a @wallywaterdrop mention.

If it's a "first correct answer wins" contest, you must include the hash tag and mention listed above.

Prizes include tickets and t-shirts while supplies last. Winners will receive their prizes at the Open House event today (if attending) or in the mail in the next two weeks.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

STORMWATER: Two things customers should know about the fee that starts Jan. 1, 2013

The Sewer District's Regional Stormwater Management Program is preparing to collect fees starting January 1, 2013.

In preparation for these billing changes for customers, there are two important things to keep in mind:

First, our stormwater-management efforts are not new; and second, we are dedicated to effectively communicating the details of this program, its fees, and related projects over the next three months.

 The fee is new, the work isn’t.

"This program is already happening," said Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Executive Director Julius Ciaccia to Trustees at Thursday's Board meeting regarding stream maintenance, regional planning, and community outreach the District has been conducting for years. "What hasn't happened yet is the fee."

#neorsdTOUR: Open House updates and news

Headed to our Open House Saturday? We're excited about it, and hope you are, too. Earlier this week we sent an email to attendees who registered online, and also posted the same news on our Facebook event page, just to provide an update. Here's the latest.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OPEN HOUSE 9/8: Are you excited? Sewer we.

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we invite you to attend the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's 5th annual “Where Does It Go?” Open House on Saturday, September 8. The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m at the Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant near Edgewater State Park in Cleveland.

[RSVP online today!]

Friday, August 31, 2012

ISAAC: Forecasts keep us on our toes even in Ohio

Some flood events, like this one along the Cuyhoaga River along Old Rockside
Road in 2011, can't be predicted. But when they are, we prepare accordingly.

As the remnants of Hurricane Isaac make their way north—and as we hope for the safety of residents and first-responders in Isaac's wake—local forecasters were predicting significant rain in Northeast Ohio this holiday weekend.

While the threat has tailed off, the storm raises the question: How do Sewer District crews get ready for these kind of anticipated strong storm (and therefore sewer flow) surges?

Prediction, preparation, and personnel.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

EVENTS: Cleveland to welcome Great Lakes Week Summit, WVIZ/PBS will broadcast

We are supporting and participating in the Great Lakes Week Summit and Great Lakes Restoration Conference starting September 11, discussing the challenges and opportunities facing Lake Erie and our entire Great Lakes region.

You can still register to attend, and you can also follow more than 25 hours of programming thanks to a partnership between WVIZ/PBS ideastream and Detroit Public Television.

Here's the official release and program guide from WVIZ/PBS:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PUP: Grab a mitt, a mutt, and the message

The Sewer District sponsoring a bring-your-dog-to-the-ballpark night? Yes, you read that correctly.

This is the third year the Sewer District has supported the Cleveland Indians' Puppypalooza event, and the latest is August 29 against the Oakland Athletics. But why?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CONSTRUCTION: New hotline posts project updates, traffic alerts

Euclid Creek Tunnel construction
along Lakeshore Boulevard in Cleveland.
Is Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District construction affecting traffic in your neighborhood? Now you can call for the latest schedules, detours, and traffic alerts.

We have launched a new Construction Hotline (216) 432-7157 with recordings of our latest projects' traffic impacts so you can be informed and find the answers you need.

These recordings are updated regularly, featuring the latest reports on our Euclid Creek Tunnel construction along Lakeshore Boulevard and more. We also post these recordings' scripts as blog entries to make them easier to find.

Friday, August 17, 2012

VIDEO: "OK, class, we have a film for you today."

Ah, the new school year is upon us. And it brings back memories of science-class filmstrips and the clickety-clack of the projector.

Here's a classic from 1967 called "Journey through a day," in which a young boy spends his day in the great outdoors, interacting with his environment and the many creatures around him. Did you ever spend days like this? Do your kids have days like this today?

Sewer District crews spend days along streamsides, too, mostly monitoring fish and aquatic life for water-quality tests, not diving in after frogs or putting turtles in their pockets like the lad in the video. But the level of enjoyment spending a day in the great outdoors may be comparable.

Friday, August 10, 2012

TOP 10: Reasons a sewage treatment plant open house is worth a Saturday visit

You might think there is an endless list of places you'd rather be than a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District open house like the one we're having Saturday, September 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

But here are at least 10 reasons why an up-close look at the clean-water process could be worth your time.

TRAFFIC HOTLINE: Alerts for 8/10-27, 2012

Recorded August 10, 2012
Will be replaced August 27, 2012

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has several sewer construction projects that will temporarily impact vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These messages were recorded on August 10 and should remain in effect through the end of the month.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

VIDEO: Flushable wipes maybe not so much

Are flushable wipes really flushable? Perhaps for convenience, but they are not without problems beyond the drain.

Our friends at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies posted a link on their Facebook page about a city in Canada facing significant wastewater-treatment process issues because flushable diapers and wipes are not breaking down. The only thing breaking down is their equipment.

I asked our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center maintenance manager and our assistant superintendent if this is a localized problem or if we experience the same problems in our processes. Kevin Zebrowski answered it's a little bit of both.

Friday, July 27, 2012

HISTORY: 40-year anniversary, 100+ years of history?

Expansion of our Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant. April 5, 1932.
Our history predates our creation. Make sense?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Cleveland Regional Sewer District, which would later be renamed the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. But that doesn't mean the area's wastewater treatment efforts began in 1972. They began decades before.

Our three wastewater treatment plants—Easterly and Westerly in Cleveland, and Southerly in Cuyahoga Heights—were originally built by the City of Cleveland, and all date back to the early 1900s: Easterly began screening wastewater in 1908, Westerly in 1919, and Southerly in 1928.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LEARNING: It all starts with students.

Sewer District summer students team up with
Naturehood to build a neighborhood garden.
From elementary school to college, the Sewer District takes opportunities to connect with students seriously.

While the efforts help introduce young people to the importance of clean water and how we keep it that way, they also promote career opportunities and a greater understanding of the many aspects of our industry that often are overlooked.

Technology, administration, public relations, biology, law, environmental education—all of these areas and more are essential to helping your Sewer District keep our Great Lake great, and our unique programs bring students closer to them every day.

This month, we released our 2012 Student Programs handbook, a resource profiling our 13 programs and how they are helping students and our employees. You can view or download copies below, or request a personal copy or more information by contacting us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

UPDATES: Stormwater progress, Director's contract extended, Mackenzie moving forward

Three significant items were discussed at today's Board of Trustees meeting, all of which showed signs of big things to come.

Our regional stormwater management program language, known as Title V [opens PDF in a new window] was approved by Trustees with plans to implement the program beginning in 2013. This is following a 30-day public-comment period. Some of the most notable changes in our plan include increased cost-sharing for communities: 25% of all fees collected from the program will be returned to each community for local stormwater-related needs. We discussed this in recent Plain Dealer feature.

Executive Director Julius Ciaccia also had his contract extended through 2016. Trustees specifically drew attention to accomplishments such as progress in stormwater management, engineering practices improvements, and implementation of the 25-year Project Clean Lake consent decree.

Lastly, during our monthly project report, we heard that Mackenzie, our 300-foot-long tunnel boring machine will begin drilling by this time next month. Mackenzie is burrowing the 18,000-foot-long Euclid Creek Tunnel on Cleveland's east side, starting her journey in Bratenahl.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ARCHIVES: Drive-in was Southerly neighbor in 1960s

Image by Robert Frank, 1955.

Our student assistant Stephanie Harris uncovered a great bit of nostalgia recently when she included the phrase "drive-in theater" in a story about our Southerly wastewater treatment plant in Cuyahoga Heights.

That's right. Our current plant's footprint covers a space that used to be the Canal Road All-Weather Drive-In Theatre.

The theater opened in 1963, but photos of the locale were hard to come by. There was this one posted by ("the definitive resource for drive-in information") as seen below, perhaps from the 1970s.

The Sewer District took over the Southerly plant in 1972. While we're not sure when the theatre was closed (although one PDF reference included the date 1976), it was razed in 1979 during significant expansion and upgrades at Southerly, and the site is where the Effluent Building sits today.

Nice detective work, Stephanie.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SUN & STORMS: Beaches, rain in the July 4 news

How were you planning to spend your holiday week? Recent stories in The Plain Dealer may have you reconsidering, but they are examples of the problems that have plagued Northeast Ohio for some time.

And they are problems we are addressing.

When it comes to beach water quality—a topic we spent time blogging about last week with some entertaining results—there are several factors involved: Combined sewer overflows, and polluted stormwater runoff.

Monday, July 2, 2012

STORMWATER: Program gets the green light, will begin January 2013

The Sewer District's regional stormwater management program has the green light.

On Thursday, Judge Thomas J. Pokorny issued a final ruling on the Sewer District's regional program to tackle Northeast Ohio’s flooding, erosion, and water quality problems.

The Sewer District will formally implement the Regional Stormwater Management Program in January 2013 and detailed planning for early-stage projects is already underway. The Regional Stormwater Management Program will address flooding, streambank erosion and water quality issues throughout much of Northeast Ohio.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

TRAFFIC: West 11th to close for construction July 9

Starting July 9, West 11th Street will close for about a week to complete a sewer relining project. The street will be closed to all traffic besides local residents.

The relining process, known as cured in place pipe, uses a resin which yields odors. Embedded below are a brief project description and frequently asked questions regarding the resin.

Friday, June 29, 2012

RADIO, part II: "That's a significant drop." Yes, he is.

So when a caller to the WMMS 100.7 Alan Cox Show during Wednesday drivetime reacted to the hosts' conversation about Lake Erie's poor beachwater quality, he rightfully touched on the Sewer District's multi-billion-dollar program to fix some of the problems plaguing the lakefront.

We heard about the call yesterday morning, and our own Jean Chapman sent Alan Cox an email to clarify a few points the caller made. Why not, right? With that, we also used her email as a blog post, embedded a clip from the show's podcast, and added a few points for good measure. In good fun, our spokesdrop Wally tweeted @alancoxshow to let him know he gave us good material and an opportunity to share information.

Then came Thursday's show. Check it out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

RADIO: I'm not sure we can use that in a headline.

The phrase "t_rd reduction" might be awkward in a headline, but it's the way yesterday's beach report and our efforts to monitor and improve water quality came up in drive-time talk radio yesterday. Hear for yourself:

WMMS's Alan Cox Show spent a few segments on the topic yesterday afternoon. And while Lake Erie and its water quality are the punchline for easy jokes [insert burning-river humor here], we have reduced many pollution sources affecting our lake in the last 40 years.

Yet we are the first to admit we have a long way to go. There are many factors involved in the bacteria and pollution along the lakefront, and we're tackling them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PUP: Picking up waste, dropping some knowledge

Photo by J. Quinn
Summer days and dog walking go hand in hand. On your walks, have you seen any of our PUP signs? The requests for them continue coming in, but so do the questions about the real motivators behind this successful campaign.

Our Pick Up Poop! (PUP) program comes down to two things: Water quality, and common courtesy.

The bac facts: Bacteria Tallahassee (Florida)'s "Think About Personal Pollution (TAPP)" runs a similar pet campaign, and they offer a helpful comparison between the amounts of bacteria in various animal wastes.

TAPP goes on to explain:
Dogs present a special problem. Built to eat almost anything, dogs have as especially large number of intestinal bacteria to digest that wide variety of food, about 23 million bacteria per gram of waste.
Due to dogs' high-protein diets, their waste is highly acidic. It is not a fertilizer and can contain 10 times as much fecal coliform bacteria as cow manure, and also a whole lot of nasty stuff like e. coli, salmonella, and giardia.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BEACHES: Sewer District partners with NRDC in press conference on beach quality

Villa Angela Beach in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Michael Uva.
Updated 2012 06/27—This morning, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) held a 10:00 press conference at the Great Lakes Science Center to release its annual report on national beaches—including several in Greater Cleveland—and the Sewer District has partnered with them at the release event.

You can follow tweets from the conference on our @wallywaterdrop Twitter stream or using hashtag #2012beach

Monday, June 25, 2012

PROFILE: Students travel the ins and outs of Cleveland's water cycle

Assistant superintendent Dan Smith speaks to a group of Sewer District summer students and co-ops from a point high atop a trickling filter at the Westerly plant in Cleveland.

Think of it as a water-cycle/career-prep roadtrip. The Sewer District calls it success@work.

The District recently dedicated a day to providing its summer students with insight on how to be more successful in the workplace. With that came a closer look into the work of the Sewer District, the urban water cycle, and related career opportunities present in the Greater Cleveland community.

“I didn’t expect too much, but I really got a lot out of it,” said Ryan Stroud, a student at Case Western Reserve University working in a summer position in Building Maintenance. “We got a lot of information about the (treatment) plants and how the water cycle in Cleveland works, but we also got a lot about personal development.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

PHOTOS: Where's Wally? Austria. Sort of.

Former Sewer District summer student Robert Nedrich sent us a few photos of his time in Vienna, Austria. A true validation of the impact we had on Robert, he was quick to see the resemblance between a Vienna water treatment facility mascot and our own Wally Waterdrop, our official spokesdrop.

Here is an example of one of the information panels they had on display:

The panel illustrates one step in the treatment process, the likely equivalent of aeration tanks like these at our Easterly plant in Cleveland where good bacteria feed on germs in the wastewater. The text, translated from German via Google, reads:
This pool is called a revival pool. Quite a lot of bacteria live here and these need lots of air to breathe. Therefore, air is constantly blown. Bacteria purify the water and eat the dirt.
"Revival pool." Great term.