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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

RATES: 2015 rates take effect January 1, find out if you qualify for cost-saving programs

On January 1, 2015, our Cleveland sewer rate increases to $69.65 per MCF (1,000 cubic feet of water or 7,480 gallons) and suburban rates increase to $71.75 per MCF. See the full rate schedule.

Reduced rates are available to customers who meet Homestead or Affordability Program criteria. We also have other cost-saving programs available.

The increases seen in the 2012-2016 rate schedule are due to major construction projects and a 25-year program to reduce combined sewer overflows known as Project Clean Lake. We will conduct a study in 2015 to determine the next rate schedule slated to begin in 2017.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NEWS: Puppy with a badge, new K-9 officer Storm will train for safety, outreach

The Sewer District has begun training a canine officer for work in our Security department, for infrastructure safety and community outreach.

Storm, a two-month-old German Shepherd pup, was brought on board December 15. He will be trained this year as an explosive-detection and human-tracking dog, for security, and emergency-recovery purposes at the District and throughout the region.

Besides infrastructure and employee safety—and the potential for regional collaboration with other K-9 units—Storm will be a unique addition to our outreach efforts, helping promote our PUP program and customer engagement at community events.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FEATURE: Eric's sewer cover design will be a fixture on Project Clean Lake green infrastructure

People are going to look down on and walk all over Eric's artwork for years to come, and those aren't criticisms.

Eric Shebestak of Parma won our Manhole Cover Design Contest over the summer, meaning his illustration will be cast on storm-sewer manhole covers next year as part of several Project Clean Lake green infrastructure projects.

He recently stopped by to pick up his prize and talk with us about the project.

"I work with First Energy along the lake," he said, "so water quality is very important to me, I see it every day."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

VIDEO: Sing along with the #12clogs of Christmas

Sinks, toilets, and drains in general tend to get a little extra work during the holidays, especially if you're hosting house guests.

That's why we created our #12clogs of Christmas infographic last year, and now have put it to song, to help you remember what to keep out of your toilets and drains.

Special thanks to Ruthie Spearman and Michael Uva for the audio!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

LIST: Flush or fiction? 5 of our favorite toilet bowl myths and legends

Handy wipes are flushable: False.

They may say flushable on the package. They are common in bathrooms across the country. But because disposable wipes don't break down in the sewer system like toilet paper does, they can clog a home's plumbing and cause major issues in city treatment systems. Throw wipes in the trash rather than the toilet.

A city sewer system failed when the flow surged beyond capacity during a Super Bowl halftime show: False.

It's a legend that resurfaces every January as teams vie for the big game, but legend is all it is. Green Bay Metro Sewer District said even under the most extreme restroom-rush conditions, the likelihood of a major metropolitan sewer system being unable to handle the flow is slim to none.

Toilet water can splash onto your toothbrush: True.

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters team proved aerosol droplets released from a flushing toilet can be shown to affect surfaces in restrooms. But the test also showed the reaches to which fecal bacteria can be found all throughout the house, something we're well aware of.


The rotation of the earth changes the direction water flows around a toilet bowl: False.

Does the direction of a toilet bowl's spinning water change depending on the hemisphere you're in? No. The earth's rotation does cause something known as the Coriolis effect, but the force of a flushing drain is, as How Stuff Works explains, "much too great to be influenced by something as miniscule as a single, 360-degree turn over the span of a day."

You should flush old or outdated medications down the toilet rather than just throwing them away: False.

Flushing pharmaceutical products is harmful to our water resources. Wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove these medications from the sewage, which means they end up in our waterways. It's best to drop old and unused medications in safe disposal locations and community collection events so they can be disposed of properly.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#BuffaloSnow: 2011 video shows how rain and snow melt can overwhelm streams and sewer systems

Seven feet of snow followed by 60 degree temperatures and rain.

The conditions of Buffalo, NY seem almost surreal, but the area is preparing for flooding anticipated as streams and sewers are surely going to be stressed by the combination of warming temps, snow melt and stormwater this week.

Northeast Ohio faced a similar situation in February 2011. The snowfall totals then were nowhere close to the 80+ inches Buffalo faced last week, but the already saturated ground beneath a layer of snow-pack caused surface runoff volumes to spike, overwhelming sewers and streams.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TECH: The movement behind the poop emoji, or Why talking #2 should be less taboo

I never realized the poop emoji had such a history.

Then again, many could say the same thing about the work it takes to get the poop out of wastewater: I never realized it had such a history.

Fast Company recently recounted how emojis—the tiny graphics that have become staples of the instant-messaging and social-media experience—came into existence, specifically the long but fascinating road Google traveled to bring the poop to the US and how it became the means of expression it is today.

The poop and emojis like it had origins in Japan in 1999, and the story examines how the cartoon expressions help tell stories and convey thoughts in ways that words can't. The push to include the poop in earliest emoji offerings was hard-fought, and judging on its prevalence today, the argument to do so was well-founded.

There's another relevant connection we see. The poop or poop-no-anim or poop-with-eye expressions all relate well to the work of wastewater treatment:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

QUIZ: Are you one of the 2.5 billion? #WorldToiletDay

More than 2.5 billion people around the world suffer from improper sanitation. In honor of World Toilet Day, we can determine if you're one of them by this simple quiz. Take it and see.

EVENT: East Cleveland community meeting will discuss upcoming green projects this Thursday 11/20

On Thursday, November 20, at 5:30 p.m., the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will host a meeting for East Cleveland residents and business owners to discuss a future green infrastructure project, the “East 140th Street South Green Infrastructure Projects.”

The meeting will take place at the East Cleveland Public Library (14101 Euclid Ave., East Cleveland). Sewer District representatives will discuss possible neighborhood amenities and gather input from residents and the local business community.

Green Infrastructure project locations include:
  • Near Euclid Avenue and Page Avenue
  • Near Hayden Avenue and Scioto Avenue
  • Near Hayden Avenue and 1st Avenue.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ALGAE: In wake of Toledo's algae woes, investigation takes deeper look at causes, solutions (Video)

Is the toxic algae that led to Toledo's three-day "DO NOT DRINK" declaration this summer a threat to Cleveland in the future?

While Cleveland's lake conditions differ from those of the western Lake Erie basin, when our Great Lake is threatened, all of its neighbors need to take notice.

This week, Fox 8 News' I-TEAM ran a two-part series focused on the toxic algae bloom that led to Toledo's water ban in August, asking questions about the decisions made, the testing methods employed, and future work being considered to keep our lake and the surrounding residents safe. The videos and their complete reports are linked below.

Friday, November 7, 2014

PIC: Main entrance wall crumbles, security responds as car crashes at Easterly plant

Image credit Alexander Malloy, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Security officers responded to an early Thursday morning crash at our Easterly plant today where a driver careened off the road, demolishing our main gate welcome sign.

Paramedics took the driver to the hospital following the accident and his condition is not known at this time. There were no other injuries on site, according to Officers Alexander Malloy and Jason Kern's accident report.

The report described that the vehicle crossed through the intersection of East 140th Street and Lake Shore Boulevard before crashing into the plant's main front wall about 5:00 a.m., not far from the guard house a few hundred feet away. The officers tended to the driver until paramedics arrived and extracted him from the vehicle for medical attention.

We'd like to thank Officers Malloy and Kern for responding to the incident and we wish the driver a full recovery.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

PHOTOS: 11 images of the underground wonders of unseen infrastructure

The underground is full of wonders to behold. But c'mon, don't break the law to behold them.

An art and architecture publisher recently printed a book featuring stunning photos of London's underground infrastructure. The catch, according to the editor, is that the photos were taken "without permission from anyone," which can pose a number of safety and legal issues.

While we don't advocate unauthorized sewer spelunking expeditions, we completely understand the intrigue of the hidden architectural wonders of a sewer system. The handiwork, the engineering, the labor involved, it really can be amazing.

Here are some of our favorite recent images showcasing these characteristics of our own system hidden below northeast Ohio. These images were taken by our employees or contractors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LOOK: See green infrastructure plans taking root in Cleveland neighborhoods

Visitors from across the country toured six green-infrastructure pilot projects across Cleveland this week as part of the second annual Green Infrastructure Summit held at Cleveland State University.

These sites featured a combination of small-scale demonstrations, green-infrastructure—components of Project Clean Lake to help reduce flow volumes in our combined-sewer area—and water resource restoration projects.

Friday, October 24, 2014

GREEN: Cleveland to host national green-infrastructure summit, showcase Project Clean Lake lessons, opportunities

Consider it a who's who of green infrastructure, and the summit's coming to Cleveland.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District welcomes the Second Community Summit on Green Infrastructure next week, also celebrating the completion of its first Project Clean Lake neighborhood green-infrastructure project.

The summit is jointly hosted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Sewer District and Cleveland State University October 26-28, intending to foster better implementation of green infrastructure throughout the country.

As part of the summit, the Sewer District will hold a press conference Monday, October 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the project site located between Aetna Road and Union Avenue on E. 78th Street in Cleveland, celebrating the completion of the Green Ambassador Slavic Village Demonstration Project.

"This is an exciting day for the Sewer District and the Greater Cleveland community," said Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. "This is the first green infrastructure project completed in a residential neighborhood under Project Clean Lake. It is also a perfect example of utilizing a mix of vacant and private property to address water quality issues."

Monday, October 6, 2014

WEIRD: Minnesota man faces charges after clogging toilets with pounds of nails

We have an entire list of things people shouldn't flush down the toilet. Looks like we need to add another one to it.

A St. Paul, Minnesota man is being charged with first-degree property damage after he was alleged to have dumped pounds of hardware-store nails down toilets in at least three different locations, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NEWS: Green commitment in Cleveland's Public Square renovation improves drainage, manages stormwater

UPDATE 2015 03/09: It all begins today. Roads closed officially at 6:00 a.m. this morning. This story took a closer look at some of the green-infrastructure components of the work that will take shape under and on the surface of the Cleveland Public Square renovation scheduled for completion in 2016.

On October 2, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Trustees approved a $3 million installment grant for the Public Square Renovation Project, a contribution that will increase the square's greenspace and sustainability.

"Public Square is the heart of Downtown Cleveland," said Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director of the Sewer District. "We’re excited to be able to connect our clean water work to the makeover of this historic, popular and heavily traveled area."

AWARDS: Cleveland Foundation grants will help advance job-development initiative, environmental improvements

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District was awarded three grants totaling $135,000 from The Cleveland Foundation to help further programs and green opportunities in the region.

The funds will be used to enhance the Sewer District’s Good Neighbor Ambassador Program and the Doan Brook Stream Restoration Project. The grants are for:
  • Neighborhood Revitalization Projects, Good Neighbor Ambassador Program ($40,000)
  • Case Study, Good Neighbor Ambassador Program ($20,000)
  • Consultants, Doan Brook Stream Restoration Project ($75,000)

Good Neighbor Ambassador Program

Last May, the Sewer District launched the Good Neighbor Ambassador Program, a progressive one-of-a-kind job development initiative designed to provide outreach to customers who are impacted by Project Clean Lake construction. Project Clean Lake is the Sewer District’s $3 billion initiative to reduce combined sewer overflows from 4.5 billion gallons to 500 million gallons. The current construction activity is a series of projects located in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland.

The Ambassador program hires underemployed or unemployed individuals for 30 hours each week with benefits. Staffed by seven ambassadors and a supervisor, the part-time ambassadors are assigned community improvement tasks, such as cutting grass, passing out project notices and talking with residents about Project Clean Lake, while receiving extensive professional development training. This training includes soft skills, safety procedures, conflict resolution, wastewater overview, and an explanation of the Sewer District’s wide-ranging construction activities. The Sewer District assists with job placement within the organization, as well.

PROFILE: Good Neighbors, good work in the Glenville community

The first class of Good Neighbor Ambassadors (l to r): Brandon Hogan, Galen Adams, Anthony Body, Donnell Green, Dareus Hiley, Ciera Campbell, Tyronn Dunn, and Sircharles Williams

The goal of the Good Neighbor Outreach program is to connect the District with the communities it serves, and our Good Neighbor Ambassadors act as liaisons between the District, various community and business organizations, and the general public.

Made up of seven Ambassadors and Supervisor Anthony Body, the Good Neighbor team’s current focus is the Glenville neighborhood for the duration of Dugway Storage Tunnel construction as part of Project Clean Lake.

The Ambassadors keep Glenville residents up-to-date on what is happening in their neighborhood, distributing informational materials, answering questions, and addressing concerns about the District’s construction projects.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TECH: Plant ops, sludge science among topics featured in 2014 tech journal "Clean Water Works"

Plant operations and the wastewater treatment process are the focus of our latest issue of Clean Water Works, an award-winning technical magazine covering subjects relevant to the water industry. View it below or open the publication in a new window.

RELATED: Don't miss our online-only Web Extras:

ENVIRONMENT: The facts about phosphorus, and why Lake Erie receives more nutrients than any other Great Lake

Fact: Lake Erie contains 2% of the Great Lakes' water—and 50% of their fish.

Great Lakes facts and figures underscore the reality that these water bodies are precious but fragile resources. Affected by many factors, the Sewer District and agencies like it constantly monitor Lake Erie and the streams replenishing it to ensure its health.

RELATED: This story is a Web Extra featured in our Clean Water Works technical journal (Fall 2014)

Nutrients are one contributor to Lake Erie's well-being, with one particular nutrient—phosphorus—making news this season as toxic algae has threatened some parts of its western basin. Here are some phosphorus-specific facts and figures to help tell the story of nutrients and what affects their impact on our Great Lake.

CAREERS: Training, development opportunities give employees a chance to grow and improve

One of the advantages to working at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is the opportunity to advance one’s career. The District offers two training programs for careers in Maintenance and Wastewater Plant Operation—through which District employees develop their proficiencies and reach their disciplines.

Maintenance Training has four different tracks for those pursuing a vocation as an Instrumentation Technician, Plant Maintenance Electrician, Systems Utility Maintenance Person, or Plant Utilities Maintenance Person at the Sewer District.

RELATED: This story is a Web Extra featured in our Clean Water Works technical journal (Fall 2014)

Interested employees enroll in a hands-on Talent Assessment Program (based on Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, or AMTEC standards) to determine their technical knowledge. Those who achieve a composite score of 75 or better qualify for the Maintenance Training program.

Successful applicants embark on a training regimen that includes 800 classroom hours (an equivalent of between 38 and 52 semester hours) of coursework provided by Cuyahoga Community College onsite at a District facility, plus 8,000 hours of on-the-job instruction over the course of four years, followed by  ongoing professional training that continuously enhance one’s skill set.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

EVENT: We'll treat the water, you tweet the pics. #neorsdTOUR will include a photo contest

If you are joining us this Saturday, make sure your phone is charged and get your Tweeting thumbs ready.

Our Open House this Saturday, September 27 from 9 to 2 starting at our Environmental & Maintenance Services Center will feature a photo contest and you can join the fun using the #neorsdTOUR hashtag.

RELATED: 5 things to remember if you're headed to our Open House September 27

Share your best photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and tag them with #neorsdTOUR for a chance to win two T-shirts and a #neorsdTOUR prize pack.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HISTORY: Big balls were used to clear sewers of the 1870s

The sewer ball on a vintage postcard. Via

Now that's old school. Cleaning sewers in Paris in the 1870s literally required rolling giant balls of wood and iron through the tunnels.

Atlas Obscura recently posted a story about the history of the world-famous sewer network under Paris, France, including the effort it takes to keep the 160-year-old system blockage free.

Back in the old days (and even in some stretches of sewer today), workers raked muck from sewers that could be reached safely, but some scenarios called for something more. Enter these giant balls of the 1870s. They were forcefully "bowled" against larger blockages to clear tunnels.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SOURCES: Latest tunnel construction project to be powered by giant hamster wheel. Or not.

Not an Onion headline, just fun with an already great photo.

When our Director of Engineering & Construction Kellie Rotunno tweeted her original pic earlier in the week, posting progress on our enormous Euclid Creek Tunnel project, it got our wheels spinning.

In reality, Kellie explained that the 30-ton rebar frame is being lowered into a Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft to connect the shaft with the three-mile tunnel itself. Once in place, the form will be lined with concrete.

We'd need a whole lotta hamsters to power something like a tunnel boring machine, but we are consistently looking for ways to make our Project Clean Lake program smarter and more sustainable.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WOW: "Wannabe photog" captures lightning strike, eerie shelf cloud over Lake Erie

When storms pop up over Lake Erie, our wastewater treatment plant operators are ready. It's a bonus when someone has a camera ready, too.

These amazing images were taken by one of our consultants from Brown & Caldwell by the name of Nick Bucurel. Nick is on-call at all hours of the day as his job is to monitor some of our plant processes that are only operational during heavy storms. (It's a pilot process known as Chemically Enhanced High-Rate Treatment, or CEHRT).

Lucky for us, his Twitter bio says he's also a wannabe photog.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#WaterWorks: Pipes, problems, and potential? Why water infrastructure stands in the national spotlight today.

Efficiency doesn't always make headlines.

Today, a national summit in Washington, D.C. is trying to change that by bringing attention to the water infrastructure our entire country relies on and yet so often overlooks.

The goal is to raise awareness of the jobs and economic impact of America's water and sewer projects, a value the Water Research Foundation places at $524 billion over the next decade and more than 289,000 jobs annually. | Download the complete report. Download a national fact sheet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

VIDEO: Watch the full #OHstormwater arguments from the Supreme Court hearing

Case No. 2013-1770 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District v. Bath Township, Ohio, et al.

VIDEO: @DCwater GM accepts our director's #IceBucketChallenge. On a green roof.

When one water professional calls out another water professional to a challenge based on buckets filled with the very essence of their work, the results are gonna be interesting.

Cheers to DC Water's General Manager George Hawkins for accepting our director Ciaccia's ice-bucket challenge as both men took the chance to raise awareness of water issues while supporting causes of great importance. Well played, sir.

Hawkins accepted his challenge on a green roof above a massive reservoir. Ciaccia accepted his challenge at our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center using effluent pulled right from our final effluent.

For old time's sake, here was our video that prompted George's response.

TECH: How to save your new iPhone 6+ if it falls in the toilet [#waittotweet]

Whether you're waiting in line for Apple's new iPhone 6 or still rocking your Blackberry, this can be useful.

Or better yet, you could just wait to tweet.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

LIST: 4 ways Hollywood is like (or not like) what we'll see at our Supreme Court #OHstormwater hearing

Law & Order. The Good Wife. LA Law. Ally McBeal.

How do the popular TV courtroom dramas stand up to an actual Ohio Supreme Court hearing?

We'll find out September 9 when the Sewer District argues its case for a Regional Stormwater Management Program. While it might not make a prime-time lineup, it will be live-streamed, and the hearing is an important one as the decision will have a wide-reaching impact on stormwater management efforts across the state.

Still, before Tuesday, we can make four quick comparisons between Hollywood's courtroom and what we'll actually see in Columbus September 9.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

PIC: And now, just your average sewer blockage longer than a Boeing 747.

Next time you consider flushing wipes or washing cooking grease down your drain, consider you might be contributing to a Boeing 747-size sewer blockage under your city.

It happened in the UK where Thames Water recently spent four days clearing a 262-foot blockage of fat, grease, and disposable wipes from a local sewer. That's more than 20 feet longer than an average Boeing 747 jet.

Our maintenance crews have seen crazy stuff, but never anything close to a mass of this magnitude. Still, the key contributing factors—disposable wipes and cooking grease—are among our top 15 items you shouldn't flush. Just because it can fit down your drain doesn't mean it belongs there.

We say, "Don't use your toilet as a garbage can." In London, they say, "Bin it, don't block it." Even across the pond, sewer smarts are a universal language.

Friday, August 29, 2014

SHARE: Don't let the unseen go unspoken. Water infrastructure needs attention and you can speak up 9/9 #WaterWorks

Without clean, safe, and reliable water and wastewater systems, one-fifth of our US economy would grind to a halt. That's because #WaterWorks.

Water sustains life. It creates jobs and drives our economy. Clean water is what our work is all about.

September's going to be big when it comes to water issues. On September 10, 2014, water leaders will be in Washington, educating the White House and Congressional leaders about how investment in our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure puts people to work and builds a stronger America.

We'll share stats, stories, videos and more throughout the month, and you can lend your voice to the clean-water cause. One social-media method is a September 9 Thunderclap.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

EVENT: Oh the places you'll go, the GIS Symposium edition

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

In the popular book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" Dr. Seuss reminder readers that they determine their destinations and, hopefully, have the proper tools (intelligence, prudence and perseverance) to get there.

In today’s world, we must also include modern tools, such as Geographic Information Systems, or GIS.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ALGAE: Meet Annie, Fannie, and Mike. They're toxic. #LEcaucus

Keep it simple. And use cartoons if possible.

When explaining a difficult and often technical subject like toxic algae threatening the future of Lake Erie, simplicity goes a long way helping increase both awareness and understanding.

Our hat's off to Toledo Blade's Tom Henry for helping explain the problem in layman's terms. The cartoons above are ours, but Henry's explanation of the factors in the blooms and their history is good stuff.

Toxic algae comes down to three organisms that have been around a long time: Anabaena (which scientists call Annie), Aphanizomenon (Fannie), and Microcystis (Mike). As Henry explains, they are not new (and "they are not your friends" because they can affect our health), but factors have thrown our Great Lake's system out of balance.

Friday's Lake Erie Caucus allowed a 5+ hour public forum to discuss the issue and possible long-term solutions, inspired by the recent three-day "Do not drink the water" order in Lucas County.

Some of the blooms' contributing factors include phosphorus, a naturally occurring element which feeds algal blooms when levels get too high. While our wastewater treatment plants do remove more than 80% of the phosphorus they receive, much of the lake's problems are exacerbated by unregulated runoff from fertilized surfaces like lawns and farms.

You can read tweets from Friday's caucus using the hashtag #LEcaucus.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ALGAE: 5 things you should know before Friday's state Lake Erie algae meeting

Collecting beach water quality samples at Villa Angela Beach in Cleveland.

Since State Senator Randy Gardner and Representative Chris Redfern are hosting a special meeting of the Lake Erie Legislative Caucus this Friday—focusing on algae problems plaguing the lake and, most recently, the Toledo area’s drinking water—here are 5 important points to help frame the discussion.

The toxic algae problem has been recurring for years. Then again, river fires were once a recurring problem, too.
We believe Toledo's water emergency could be the Cuyahoga River fire of this generation. Few realize that the 1969 blaze was one of at least 13 different Cuyahoga River fires since 1860; the last event became a turning point for many reasons, inspiring the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act. It inspired action.

"It took numerous fires on the river and decades to develop and implement a regulatory strategy to address the issues that faced the Cuyahoga River and other waterways at that time," says Director of Watershed Programs Frank Greenland. "We cannot afford to wait to develop a comprehensive response to the issue of algal blooms in our waterways. Public health depends upon an appropriate and timely response."

Could this be that moment?

LIST: 7 ways back-to-school jitters are like treating wastewater

Parents, it’s that time of year again. And we can make a few connections between our work and your kids’ first-day jitters that you might not have expected. Class is in session.

1. Sure maybe it stinks, but where would you be without it?
OK, the end of summer may not stink in the literal sense (wastewater work has plenty of unique literal scents of its own). But while you might not be excited about your first day back, you need it. Same thing with wastewater treatment: You wouldn’t last long without it.

2. Your supplies list tends to be pretty pricey.
As parents, students’ supplies lists seem to make our jaws drop. A $198 million sewer tunnel like the Euclid Creek Tunnel, for example, tends to generate the same response, but when it can store 60 million gallons of water to prevent spilling pollution, it helps put things into perspective.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

VIDEO: Want to know how sewage plants manage algae-causing phosphorus? Here's the only 1-minute video you need.

A major contributor to toxic algae threatening Lake Erie is phosphorus, a key component of agricultural fertilizers and a building block of life itself.

While most of it flows to the lake from stormwater runoff, wastewater plants must monitor and manage phosphorus as it makes its way through the regional sewer system.

In 2013, our three treatment plants removed more than 745 tons of phosphorus from wastewater they received. In the video above, Operator Christen Wood explains the methods used at our Southerly plant and how we balance phosphorus' good, bad, and ugly potential, all in less than one minute.

But keep in mind, the algae mess in Lake Erie is years in the making, and there is no quick or easy fix. It will require a thoughtful combination of these treatment techniques, stormwater management, sewer improvements, personal responsibility, and legislation to keep our Great Lake great.

Related stories:

Monday, August 4, 2014

OPINION: Toledo's "Do not drink" order should be a wake-up call

Much like the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River, it takes catastrophic events to get real action.

This weekend, in Toledo, a large population base was adversely impacted and could not use its potable water system for the most basic needs, cooking and drinking. We need to ask ourselves: Should this be happening in 2014?

The answer is simple: No.

For decades, leaders at all levels have known about the factors, including polluted stormater runoff, which was a major cause of the situation in Toledo. For years, the wastewater industry has been aggressively pushing the need for a broad-based approach to deal with non-point pollution and stormwater management. In Greater Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District developed a program, the Regional Stormwater Management Program, to address regional stormwater problems like runoff. Unfortunately our authority to carry out this program has been delayed by litigation that will soon be decided by the Ohio Supreme Court. In the meantime, stormwater problems, like erosion, flooding and water quality issues, will only continue to increase in our region.

We in Greater Cleveland are fortunate to have a water system that sits in a better strategic position and is constructed with ample redundancy to assure reliability. So we do not have a problem now. But we would be foolhardy to not consider our vulnerability in the future and our region's contributions to non-point sources that foul our waterways that feed into Lake Erie.

This event highlights the importance of our continued investments in treatment facilities, the mitigation of sewage overflows, maintenance and renewal of local sewage-collection systems, and the need to manage stormwater on a regional basis.

Julius Ciaccia
Executive Director

Saturday, August 2, 2014

NEWS: "Do not drink" water order in Toledo, surrounding communities is a sobering call to action

Early Saturday morning, Lucas County issued an alarming "Do not drink the water" alert affecting 19 communities and more than 400,000 residents. The directive is due to exceedingly high levels of microcystin, a toxin produced by toxic algae blooms.

While the alert is outside of our and Cleveland Division of Water's service areas, the action is related to events that affect many of our customers in Northeast Ohio, and the relationship is worth noting.

Toledo's news is a tragic example of the importance of protecting our water resources, particularly Lake Erie.

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