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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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."

He continued: "To ignore the problems, like combined sewer overflows, stormwater run-off, failing septic systems, and illicit connections of sanitary sewage to storm sewers, that plague our local waterways would be irresponsible, and would squander the past investments made to keep our Great Lake great."


Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the volume of CSO by half—from 9 billion gallons to 4.5 billion gallons—and continues efforts to reduce CSO from entering local waterways. The Sewer District has $3 billion plan, Project Clean Lake, which will further reduce overflows from 4.5 billion gallons to 500 million gallons by 2035 through the construction of large-scale storage tunnels, green infrastructure, and wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

As part of Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District is currently constructing the Euclid Creek Tunnel, which will hold 60 million gallons of raw sewage, redirecting it to the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, improving water quality near Euclid and Villa Angela Beaches.

The Mill Creek Tunnel, which was completed in 2012, holds 75 million gallons of raw sewage, and redirects untreated wastewater to the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant instead of local waterways.

Past improvements have helped, but issues are common across midwest

Combined sewer overflow outfall, Edgewater.
Throughout the mid-1970s, the combined sewer outfall at Edgewater Beach shown here discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie approximately 40 to 50 times per year. However, because of the Sewer District’s improvements to aging infrastructure, the Edgewater combined sewer overflow discharges have significantly decreased: the overflow, on average, discharges only once every few years. The last discharge event at Edgewater Beach occurred on August 14, 2011.

Other Midwest cities, with similar combined sewer infrastructure, are also addressing combined sewer overflow issues.

The Sewer District will continue its daily water quality testing near Edgewater Beach and will notify the media as soon as the swimming advisory can be lifted.

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