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Monday, December 30, 2013

WATCH: 5-year-old builds wastewater treatment plant model out of Lego, puts whatever you built to shame

Wally is five years old and he built a wastewater treatment plant out of Lego.

Really, it's quite impressive. That and his narrated tour of the colorfully snapped-together facility is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. Not something I'd want to step on with bare feet in the dark, though. Check this out.

Updated December 21, 2015

Saturday, December 28, 2013

WIPES: Yep, still not flushable. Keep wipes out of pipes, Consumer Reports confirms

It's a headline we've been seeing for some time, but it's a tip worth sharing again: Flushable wipes really aren't flushable, and if you flush them you could be asking for plumbing problems.

This time, it's a story from WLS-TV out of Chicago.

RELATED: 15 things you shouldn't flush

RELATED: Quick and simple tip to help protect your plumbing if entertaining on New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

TIPS: Stylish way to tell house guests you don't want them clogging your toilet during the holidays

Some people have a habit of flushing things they shouldn't flush: Disposable wipes, paper towels, wrappers, cotton swabs, and a whole lot more. And when you're entertaining guests this holiday season, if you don't know their habits, they might be flushing something in your bathroom that could cause a problem.

Here's something that might come in handy. Download and print one of our 5x7 inserts [PDF], find a frame around the house, and place your new reminder somewhere near your bathroom sink or toilet.

Let us know if you put one to use. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 23, 2013

EVENT: Make your holiday break a #h2olidays experience at @clevemetroparks "Water's Extreme Journey"

Image courtesy Cleveland Metroparks
If you're looking for a day trip during the holiday break, why not make a journey out of it?

Water's Extreme Journey is a traveling exhibit making a stop at Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek through January 12, 2014.

For a limited time, this amazing maze takes visitors on a journey of a falling raindrop through the water cycle and back to the ocean.

Interactive and adventurous, enjoy games and crafts throughout the exhibit and learn what you can do to protect the environment starting in your own backyard.

Water's Extreme Journey is supported by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Cleveland Division of Water.

Friday, December 20, 2013

THANKFUL: For connections made in 2013, plans laid for 2014 [#h2olidays]

Thank you. Most of you who follow our blog, Facebook posts, tweets and videos know how much we enjoy interacting with and serving you in this digital realm. And we very much appreciate the engagement we've shared throughout 2013.

When it comes to our work, this year has been eventful in many ways, and our commitment to customer service, the environment, and the betterment of our region will remain strong in the coming year.

Just as we have grown our social-media relationships in the recent past, 2014 will feature new ways to help customers better understand our work, their bills, and what it takes to keep our Great Lake great. If you have questions or ideas to help make that happen, share them with us.

We wish you a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous new year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

WEATHER: Melting snow, heavy rain, flood warnings in the forecast

With snow on the ground and heavy rain in the forecast, be prepared.

Some of our local Cleveland weather friends are predicting several inches of rain likely this weekend. With snow still standing on the saturated ground, it is possible that the rainfall could affect areas prone to flooding. What steps can you take in advance? Video after the jump.

Monday, December 16, 2013

PIC: If only every Powerpoint graph was as awesome as the one 5th-grader My'a made us

We love hearing we've made an impact on a child's life.

Even more, we love seeing that impact represented in a fifth-grader's drawn-by-hand-in-marker graph that proves a staggering 9,900% increase! In just 12 weeks!

Can't argue with statistics. It says right there: "amount of good things" the Sewer District has done.

Bam. We're not exactly sure how statistically accurate My'a Montgomery's calculations are, but her card was one of dozens we received from Mr. Candel's fifth-grade class about the water-cycle educational materials our own Ramona Lowery offered Woodbury Elementary in Shaker Heights.

Thanks again, My'a. We'll be sure to include your stats in our 2013 performance evaluation, and when we get our 2014 budget .ppt together, we're calling you.

If you'd like to request a guest speaker, send us a request.

RATES: New 2014 rates go into effect January 1, four ways to save

Our 2014 rate schedule goes into effect January 1, and there are four cost-saving programs available for qualifying customers.

The 2014 base charge is $6.60 per bill. Cleveland residents pay $62.15 per MCF ($37.75 for Homestead or Affordability Program customers), and suburban customers pay $64.55 per MCF ($38.95 for Homestead or Affordability Program customers). One MCF is 1,000 cubic feet of water consumption, equal to 7,480 gallons. Rates are charged based on actual consumption. See the full 2014-2016 rate schedule.

The 2012-2016 rates are based on maintenance and operation needs, but also account for major infrastructure investments like Project Clean Lake, a 25-year $3 billion plan to reduce pollution in Lake Erie by about 4 billion gallons a year by 2035.

We do offer four cost-saving programs that can help eligible customers pay a reduced rate: Homestead, Wastewater Affordability, Summer Sprinkling, and Crisis Assistance. All of these are briefly referenced below and detailed at

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CRAFTS: Crochet a miniature toilet, because well c'mon look at it, it's adorable.

A holiday lunch at our Administration offices ended with one of our managers receiving a crocheted mini toilet, handmade by one of our colleagues, Marina.

We think Marina made it without a pattern, which makes us love it even more, but if you by chance are interested in creating your own, we found this one by Kim Lapsley with step-by-step photos and instructions.

Cute stocking stuffer, no? Now if only we could find a water treatment plant made out of Legos...

Friday, December 13, 2013

TIPS: The #12clogs of Christmas [#infographic and video]

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but here's a wish list of a different kind.

If you whistle while you work preparing for holiday gatherings, here's a new take on a Christmas tune that will help you (or your guests) remember what not to put down the drain.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

HISTORY: Why are tunnel boring machines named, and why are they named after women?

Yesterday, our tunnel boring machine Mackenzie—who has been disassembled for more than a month but keeps right on tweeting—received a great question from a follower:

With a little help and a link shared by @HMMnews, we were able to find the answer. WNYC's Derek Wang reported earlier this year, covering Seattle's TBM Bertha, that "the tradition and practice of naming tunneling machines dates back to the earliest mining traditions" including devotions to patron saints of safety of underground workers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HOME: Holiday stress? Why water lines burst the way they do.

Photo courtesy justclaire, flickr

If you've every experienced a frozen or burst water line at home (our condolences if you have), "inconvenient" doesn't begin to describe it. However, the word "interesting" might.

We came across a technical but very educational blog post by Nick Berry as featured on Popular Science answering the question, "Why do pipes burst the way they do?"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NEWS: #WaitToTweet 'til you're toilet-trained? iPotty voted worst toy of 2013

Photo courtesy Jezebel

The votes are in: The worst of the worst toys of the year is the iPotty, an iPad holder built into your child's potty-training seat.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood annually presents one unlucky winner with the TODAY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children) Award, and the voters' cases for the iPotty "winning" this year were definitive.

Whatever your opinions are about children and technology, technology in the bathrooms is a growing trend, but we never realized how far until seeing this. Either we should be aiming our #WaitToTweet message at a much younger demographic, or we better start working on our "Wally Waterdrop Saves the World" app.

What are your thoughts on worst or best toys of the year?

Monday, December 9, 2013

PIC: Sweet home Milwaukee? Trash boat has best name ever.

OK, so Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has the best boat name ever.

Since 2012, Milwaukee's canals and rivers have been maintained with a skimming boat named the Lynyrd Skymmr.

Lynyrd Skymmr.

Worth noting today since it was on this day back in 1973 that Lynyrd Skynyrd played in Ohio, just down the road at E. J. Thomas Hall in Akron.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

AWARD: When it comes to national recognition, clean water works.

Our first internally produced technical magazine has been recognized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) as a 2014 National Environmental Achievement Award-winner.

Clean Water Works was selected to receive this Public Information & Education honor thanks to its scientific content and contribution to public education regarding water-quality issues.

You can request a copy or read our online edition.

This first issue focused on our beach monitoring efforts: "I am incredibly proud of our environmental leadership and the technical expertise of our staff," said Executive Director Julius Ciaccia. "Our substantial investment in this area demonstrates our purpose in protecting our waterways."

Congratulations to editor and art director Michael Uva and his team of contributors: Mark Citriglia, Rachel Dannemiller, Jennifer Elting, Frank Foley, Kristen Greenwood, Lindsey Koplow, Carrie Millward, Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, Nichole Schafer, Robert Scherma, Paul Skerl, and Cheryl Soltis-Muth.

VIDEO: 1928 school film shares how to treat sewage, how to set rat traps, and how not to catch malaria, typhoid, or the bubonic plague

Throwback Thursday is an opportunity to harken back to a time when we used the words "hence" and "typhoid" in daily American conversation.

The 4-minute clip above is from a 20-minute 1928 educational silent film called "Health and Hygiene" which focused on the causes of common diseases and their remedies.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

PIC: Ask an engineer how a combined sewer works. Here's what you get.

"It's a little messy around the edges," Joe said, referring to his sketch of a combined sewer regulator. I would have described it as intricate, then again, I'm not Joe.

Joe Jira is a Geographic Information System Analyst in our Engineering department, and Analyst doesn't give his enthusiasm for his work justice.

I recently saw his sketch when he offered coworkers a demonstration of our GIS technology and how he uses Google SketchUp to create diagrams of our infrastructure. The "sketch" above is his way of explaining the flow of a combined sewer in Cleveland under E. 107th and Park Lane.

Monday, December 2, 2013

LOOK: Mackenzie, now in pieces, awaits a resurrection

It is finished.

Mackenzie—the 1,500-ton tunnel boring machine that once spanned more than three football fields in total length—now rests in hundreds of pieces in the cold December Bratenahl air.

Since finishing her three-mile journey digging the Euclid Creek Tunnel back in August, she has been meticulously disassembled and brought to the surface, cataloged, and placed in storage where she began her journey in 2012, at a site known as Nine Mile Creek.