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Saturday, June 28, 2014

NOTICE: Swimming advisory for #Edgewater Beach has been lifted

Saturday morning testing predicts ”Good” water quality rating

With today’s temperature readings expected to reach the high 80s, many Clevelanders are eager to get back to the beach. Our crews are predicting “Good” water quality at Edgewater Beach for Saturday, June 28, and have lifted the swimming advisory posted last week.

Sewer District crews are responsible for testing water quality at three area beaches—Edgewater Beach, Villa Angela Beach and Euclid Beach—using a rapid testing method to quickly predict whether bacteria levels in the lake are within safe limits for swimming and other shoreline activities. Due to a combined sewer overflow at Edgewater Beach (the first overflow in three years), the Sewer District posted a swimming advisory.  Beach visitors—particularly children, the elderly and those in ill health—were advised to avoid contact with the water and any floating debris.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#RNC2CLE: Whatever your party, clean water is worth celebrating.

Big news for the CLE from the RNC today as Cleveland and Dallas are the final two cities in the running for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Whatever your political leanings might be, an event like this could bring much attention to Cleveland in a very positive way. Of course, we're proud of our natural resources and our work that helps keep them great. Despite the challenges of today and tomorrow, there is hope, and there is action.

And that's a ticket worth running on.

NOTICE: Heavy storms trigger swimming advisory at Edgewater Beach

Water quality sampling at three local beaches.
June 24 storms cause Edgewater combined sewer outfall to discharge raw sewage into Lake Erie

Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District posted a public advisory at Edgewater Beach as a result of a combined sewer overflow (CSO) event at Edgewater, which discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie during last night’s heavy storm.

Visitors—particularly children, the elderly and those in ill health—are advised to avoid contact with the water and debris for the next 48 hours.

"Last night’s overflow at Edgewater is yet another example of why we need to continue to be aggressive in investing in our sewer infrastructure," said Julius Ciaccia, Sewer District Executive Director, "particularly if want to continue to capitalize on the good work of the Cleveland Metroparks and those who are developing along the lakefront."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NEWS: Indictment alleges company illegally discharged zinc, chrome into sewer system

Sewer District Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance (shown above) and Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant staff assisted with the investigation that led to today's indictment.

An indictment was filed in federal court today charging Thomas E. White, 49, of Fairview Park, and Kelly Plating Company with making illegal discharges with high concentrations of metals such as chrome and zinc into the sewer system.

The indictment alleges that Kelly Plating ensured all of its pollution control equipment—which was "was operated properly" on weekdays—was bypassed on weekends, discharging partially treated waste and high concentrations of chrome and zinc directly to the sewer system.

"[We have] made significant investments to improve water quality in our region, and will not tolerate actions that jeopardize that investment," said Sewer District Executive Director Julius Ciaccia in a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Sewer District, its stringent industrial monitoring program and Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant staff were proud to contribute to the investigation with partners Ohio EPA, U.S. EPA, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Read the full release.

NEWS: Coming off Ohio's last-place ranking in 2013, we have 3 predictions for this year's national beaches report.

Last year, a national report ranked Lake Erie beaches last in water quality. Where will they finish this summer? We could find out this week.

Cleveland's lakefront has made a significant step forward since Cleveland Metroparks assumed control of its beaches last year. But challenges to its recreational water quality remain, and that could mean low rankings again when the Natural Resources Defense Council releases its 2014 Testing the Waters beach report.

We'll see what the numbers say when the report is made official, but we can already make three predictions. And we can also put the predictions into perspective.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

VIDEO: James Earl Jones describes the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire [#Cuyahoga45]

In this clip from a 1978 documentary, Cuyahoga, James Earl Jones' booming voice tells the tale of the famous 1969 Cuyahoga River fire that turned national attention on the state of our environment and inspired action in Northeast Ohio and far beyond.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WEIRD: Calif. mayor resigns after caught on video flinging dog poop on neighbor's lawn

Mud-slinging is common in politics, but this slinging cost a mayor his job.

A California mayor recently resigned after being caught on camera flinging a bad of his dog's feces on his neighbor's lawn.

According to Newschannel 5 and Newsy:
The Los Angeles Times reports about 100 people attended an hourslong city council meeting June 11 where several residents called for [Mayor Dennis] Kneier's resignation in what they creatively dubbed the "poopgate" incident.
While we applaud the former mayor's initiative picking up after his pup, heading for the trash rather than the grass would have prevented both pollution and this unfortunate scandal.

Perhaps most unfortunate is the loss of so many creative campaign commercials Kneier's challengers could have come up with next election season.

Friday, June 13, 2014

WEIRD: Making sense of the smells of wastewater treatment [#cwc5K]

If you thought the smell of victory was unique, you've never visited a wastewater treatment plant.

Our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center is hosting the Clean Water Classic 5K run/walk for charity this Saturday, so all of our guests will have a chance to smell both. It has raised some questions.

"What does a sewage treatment plant smell like?"

So many factors can affect the answer on any given day, but we asked one of our operators what scents runners might encounter along the five-kilometer course. Here's what she said.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

HISTORY: How a dying river saved our lives.

Two men wearing life jackets on a small boat on Lake Erie, 1976. Both the boat and the men are covered in oil polluting Lake Erie. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library Division of Special Collections.

When the oozing Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, consider that it might not have even made the "Top 10" list of Cleveland river fires at the time.

A spark ignited pollution on the Crooked River on June 22, 1969—but few today realize that it actually was the thirteenth time it had happened.

Thirteen times. Take that in for a moment. The river had once been so polluted and abused since the 1860s that tar-black layers of filth burned on its surface on at least 13 other occasions.

Monday, June 9, 2014

LOOK: What a 5K course through a wastewater treatment plant looks like. #cwc5K

If you've ever wondered...
  1. what the inside of a 288-acre wastewater treatment plant looks like, or
  2. what the five-kilometer course will be like for our Clean Water Classic 5K charity run/walk this weekend, or
  3. where you can listen to Bonnie Tyler's Holding out for a hero to pump you for the rest of your day...
then just click Play and take it all in.

This video is the actual 5-kilometer course through our Southerly plant and Environmental & Maintenance Services Center (EMSC) that runners will see Saturday, June 14 for our #cwc5K fundraiser. There's still time to register if you want to be a part of this first-time-ever public event.

You might be surprised at the amount of green you see, the expansive scenery or perhaps at the amount of construction going on. Don't worry, runners won't be competing with dump trucks and fork lifts this Saturday.

Plus, shown here at 400% actual speed, we doubt entrants are going to make it through the course in three minutes.

Special thanks to Kevin Z. for the video clips.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

VIDEO: "Stinks, too."

Anthony Body has been with us for several months and he recently went on a wastewater treatment plant tour with his co-workers.

He grabbed his phone when he got to the bar screens, large racks that catch all kinds of floating debris that sewers carry into our treatment plant. If you never wondered where street debris and flushed garbage goes when it disappears down the drain, Anthony put it pretty simply.

If you think that's impressive, the whole process is worth checking out, too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

INTERACTIVE: 29 green projects helping neighborhoods slow the flow

When every drop counts, every solution matters.

Since 2009, businesses and organizations across Northeast Ohio have taken steps to manage stormwater on their properties with the help of a Small Scale Stormwater Demonstration Projects grants program.

The interactive map below shows you 29 such projects—from rain gardens to storage solutions to bioswales and more—and how they are alleviating local stormwater problems and reducing stormwater flows in local sewers.

You can also view the map at full size.