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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

QUESTION: What would you like to see?

Our monthly email blast—environotes—has been around for several years in several forms. First, it was a limited distribution print newsletter, then an email newsletter, and now a collection of the month's social-media highlights from your Sewer District.

At one time, we focused on public-officials news, then shifted to Sewer District accomplishments, and most recently widened the view to promote customer-service oriented news and opportunities. Our current maillist includes about 1,100 names of officials, citizens, educators, residents, and other interested followers.

We'd like your feedback: What kind of news best suits this email newsletter format? Are you subscribed? Would you subscribe? Why or why not?

As our own social media efforts have grown, most of our conversation, news, announcements and alerts that were once shared via environotes have more frequently been posted on our Facebook page, Twitter account, and and here on our blog. With that in mind, is this communication venue still helpful? Necessary? How can it better serve you as customers and Northeast Ohio residents?

Leave you comments below to help us determine a direction for this environotes project in 2012.

Monday, January 23, 2012

SAVE: Affordability Program app available online

Administered by partners at the Cleveland Housing Network, Wastewater Affordability Program applications are now available as a PDF download from CHN's website.

The Sewer District's wastewater affordability program—along with expansion of its Homestead program—were launched in 2011 as part of its 2012-2016 rates schedule. All of the Sewer District's cost-saving programs were promoted with a customer mailing in November that resulted in Customer Service call volumes more than six times its weekly average.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Cleveland Division of Water customers may apply if they meet the income guidelines posted on CHN's utility assistance page

The Sewer District also is developing a crisis assistance program that will benefit customers affected by a major event in their lives, such as major medical expenses not covered by any other source, job loss, separation, or divorce. The program will offer financial assistance (up to $300) toward your account and suspends water shut-off action. Program details will be available later this year.

Friday, January 20, 2012

ARCHIVES: Lab, 1940

Caption: "Westerly sewage treatment plant, West 58th and Lakefront, inside of
laboratory showing arrangement and equipment. View: Looking north."
A closeup of the gentleman and equipment on the right.

Friday, January 13, 2012

24/7: Wastewater never takes a holiday

There are no "normal" business hours because, well, people are doing their business at all hours of the day.

Many residents may not realize our three wastewater treatment plants—Southerly in Cuyahoga Heights, and Easterly and Westerly in Cleveland—are operated by staff working around the clock to treat wastewater and protect public health and the environment. Our administrative offices are closed on Federal holidays, but operations, security, lab staff, and maintenance crews are on-hand or on-call at all times. That includes holidays, weekends, snow days, and every other day of the year.

Whatever the weather

On snowy weekends, operations staff also must pay close attention to weather patterns: Snow may not mean an immediate increase in the amount of stormwater flowing into treatment plants from the Cleveland area, but as it begins to melt, flows increase, sometimes significantly.

It was February 2011 when Southerly was overwhelmed by a combination of stormwater, melting snow, and saturated ground which led to a flooding situation endangering plant processes and damaging equipment. Plant personnel responded quickly and professionally to protect each other and the environment.

Whatever the holiday

In the summer, every morning before Cleveland beaches are filled with guests, our staff is out collecting and analyzing water samples to ensure the safety of swimmers. That's true on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and all summer long.

24/7/365. All year round.

Whatever the season, whatever the weather, whatever the holiday, rest assured that the Sewer District's processes and people keep working around the clock to keep our Great Lake great.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

DOLLARS AND SENSE: Ways we are controlling costs

How are we keeping our Great Lake great and controlling costs?

We take our customers' investment in our work very seriously. Clean water protects the health and safety of all the citizens in our region, and we are proud of the work we do. But we understand customers want to be sure we are managing their rates efficiently, especially in the first year of a rate increase. Here are several examples of cost-saving efforts and examples we have noted in recent years.