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Thursday, December 31, 2015

HISTORY: This viral list of 1915 facts is full of lies. Except the ones about water.

Turns out this viral list of 1915 "facts" rounding out 2015 is actually a fake, filled with untruths and misleading statements. But FWIW, it turns out the few about water are indeed true.

Gizmodo's Factually posted a breakdown of the list, a graphic that has made its internet rounds back in 2002 and 2006 with very few changes beyond a Photoshopped date. Based on the 1915 fact-checking, the water statements as shown below turn out to be true.

Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.
If this is referring to tubs with running water, that's probably true. The Cleveland Division of Water has been around in some form since the 1850s but even in 1915 its service was only beginning to reach beyond the city of Cleveland. In terms of sewers, a primary pipe taking sewage away from the city was not constructed until 1905 (and until a treatment plant was constructed in 1933, that sewage simply dumped out into Lake Erie).

A mechanical engineer could make about $5,000 per year.
Engineering is a huge part of water infrastructure generally, and that's true in our case. For comparisons today, a civil engineer starting annual salary averages $62,000.

Women only washed their hair once a month.
But we assume all of us are washing our hair more frequently in 2016, since on average Americans use 80-100 gallons of water per day.

Diarrhea was one of the six leading causes of death.
Sanitation improvements in the first half of the 1900s made tremendous strides in public health. Around the world, sanitation remains a huge concern: Diarrhea is still accountable for 20% of the six leading causes of child deaths worldwide.

Canned beer hadn't been invested yet.
True, it was not invented until 1935. And when we talk beer, we always say drink responsibly and flush responsibly.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#SewerU: Think you know sewers? Get schooled on January 26 at Sewer University

If you are making education part of your 2016 resolutions, this is one event you won't want to miss.

Sewer University presents you with a simple history and future of clean water in the Cleveland area, and the next session is scheduled for January 26 in Cuyahoga Heights. You can register to attend.

Nearly 100 guests joined us in November for our first ever SewerU, and you can watch the full video online. On January 26, Director of Watershed Programs Frank Greenland will cover topics like regional history, sewer types and functions, stormwater problems, green infrastructure and more. Guests will also have an opportunity to tour our award-winning and certified laboratory after the presentation.

Space is limited. Register today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

RATES: 2016 rates take effect January 1, cost-saving programs available to eligible customers

The 2016 rates in blue take effect January 1, 2016.

On January 1, 2016, our Cleveland sewer rate increases to $78.05 per MCF (1,000 cubic feet of water or 7,480 gallons) and suburban rates increase to $79.85 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 are currently finishing a rate study to determine the next rate schedule slated to begin in 2017.


Monday, December 21, 2015

LIST: 5 naughty things that will earn you a visit from Krampus this Christmas

Krampus says be good to your plumbing and your environment for goodness sake.

Don't be naughty this year.

Of course, St. Nicholas is known for bringing gifts to kids on the Nice list. The Naughty list earns children a more frightening visit from Krampus, a creature of European tradition who hands our more punishment than presents.

We want everyone to do the right thing and protect water. But if Krampus knows who's been bad or good, these are the Naughty things to avoid.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

WATCH: When we sense a disturbance in the Force, things tend to get messy. #StarWars

We don't think this is the Force George Lucas or J.J. Abrams had in mind. Still, clean water wouldn't be the same without it.

Our own treatment-plant Jedi Christen Wood shows us how force and the rarely-seen sludge "explosion" helps keep a sewer line clear and gives the Death Star's demise a run for its money.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

SPACE: "May the force pee with you," water recycling on the Space Station

It may not be a Star Wars galaxy far far away, but when astronauts are far from home, water is a life force.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield shows us how the water flows on the International Space Station, featuring a closed-loop treatment system in which the water astronauts use—even their wastewater—is recycled and made safe for drinking.

Many on earth are surprised to learn the water they flush is treated in a similar—but much larger—water cycle: The same water that flows down your toilet ultimately makes its way back to the environment, the common source for your drinking water at home. In Cleveland, the water cycle includes Lake Erie where we discharge treated water and from which Cleveland Water draws its clean-water supply.

It's the same cycle. The Space Station's is just much further from home.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

LeBRON: In response to Steph Curry's toilet, our open letter to LeBron James

Dear LeBron James:

You will always be number 1 to Cleveland. Which is why your number 2 is so important to us.

Your contributions to the game of basketball, Cleveland, Ohio and the entire sports world are well documented and your acclaim is well deserved.

We are sure you are aware of Golden State Warrior Steph Curry recently acknowledged his game performance has improved since getting a new toilet, and from a sanitary and health perspective, we can understand how such a a change can affect one's performance.

But we believe true and lasting greatness goes much further than a toilet. This is not about Steph Curry's toilet. It's about Cleveland basketball's run for the throne.

You are a man who understands the value of community, of family, of pride, and we hold those same values dear as a public utility. Which is why we take any steps necessary — all. steps. necessary. — to ensure you have the best throne experience and the cleanest water any king could have. We pride ourselves on it.

We already offer award-winning and nationally renown wastewater treatment service and customer education, and we understand properly treating the flow of water coming from Cleveland only furthers your drive towards a championship. We stand (well, sitting may be more appropriate in this case) behind you.

LeBron, I assure you the service we offer Northeast Ohio meets the highest water-quality and sanitation standards in order to ensure optimum game-time performance well into June. Which is why you have no need to concern yourself with your toilet. We'll take care of that, while you keep your sights set on the real throne.

Go Cavs, and go LeBron.

Julius Ciaccia
Chief Executive Officer
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Monday, December 7, 2015

JUST IN: Wally reinstated as official spokesdrop, Austin returns to back-up role

"Wally has shown he's ready for this. We're ready to move on and get back to work."

That was the official statement from the Sewer District this morning as their official spokesdrop Wally Waterdrop was reinstated as starting spokesdrop for the foreseeable future.

"Austin did what he could this past weekend. He showed guts," said CEO Julius Ciaccia Monday of Austin Waterdrop's promotion to the starting outreach line-up in the midst of the waterdrop controversy. "But Wally is our starter and we are excited to see him back in the starting role."

Wally was benched last week when photos surfaced showing him in the middle of what appeared to be a party, but it was unclear whether it was an outreach event and what year the photos were taken.

"I'm not looking back, I'm looking ahead," Wally said.

LIST: 9 ways the movie Elf pretty much sums up any water lesson we could ever teach

The life lessons offered in Will Ferrell's Elf are profound and unparalleled. In this holiday season, we invite you to reflect on nine specific clean-water insights only Buddy can convey.

A short shower is just as effective as a long one.

Everyone needs some alone time. Let your throne be a place of emotional comfort.

Singing a song while you're in the shower can help you conserve water by timing your routine. Singing while someone else is in the shower is creepy.

Friday, December 4, 2015

TUNNELS: Devotion to St. Barbara is a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of tunneling

When tunnel workers began their Euclid Creek Tunnel shifts by brassing in—a safety practice of moving a small brass disc from one side of a signboard to another to signify they are heading underground—they passed an unassuming paragraph of text masking-taped to the corner of the painted plywood.

Oh dear St. Barbara, bring us grace and bless us with your everlasting devotion. Protect us from danger and accidental death, and protect us from the evils of this world.

Brassing in and out atop the Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft.
The text is a traditional prayer of Saint Barbara, a third-century Christian martyr who is considered the patron saint of underground workers. Devotions to St. Barbara date back to the "earliest mining traditions" which continue even today.

"December 4th is her feast day," said our Senior Construction Supervisor Ryan Sullivan who is working closely with the Dugway Storage Tunnel project. "The contractors usually find some way to mark the day."

Other traditions are more recent but just as prevalent in the tunneling community, including the practice of naming tunnel boring machines. Just as a boat is christened and named, these large drilling machines that burrow deep underground are traditionally named after a female as a sign of luck and respect.

Our Euclid Creek Tunnel was bored by the TBM named Mackenzie, the same machine that will dig the Dugway Storage Tunnel beginning next year. She is currently being rehabilitated in preparation for her three-mile-long, 24-foot-wide tunneling journey.

Mackenzie finished the Euclid Creek Tunnel in 2013, but the tunnel was not fully complete ($3.6 million under budget) until this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NEWS: Back-up spokesdrop Austin named starter, Wally benched after party photos surface

NEORSD spokesdrop Wally Waterdrop at an event with fans.
Backup Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District spokesdrop Austin Waterdrop has been named starting spokesdrop for an "indefinite period of time" after photos of official spokesdrop Wally Waterdrop surfaced this week.

"Austin has been a great member of our team," said an anonymous NEORSD colleague. "We want to see how he does carrying our message of clean water and we're comfortable that he gives us the greatest chance to convey trust and reach customers."

When asked about the photos, Wally said he "did not remember" the photograph, but admitted that he "enjoys interacting with fans" at community events "regularly" throughout the year. Since the revelations, some have questioned the date of the photographs and if they could be from "some time ago," but that hasn't stopped the Sewer District from taking action.

"I've talked to Wally," our source said, "and he said he understands the situation. All we can do now is move on. The decision is made and we're excited to move forward."

NEORSD expects Wally to retain his Official Spokesdrop title but did not offer a specific timeframe for his return.

BREAKING: Motion for reconsideration of #StormwaterProgram ruling is denied, Supreme Court says program can proceed

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court denied motions from the cities of Brecksville, Strongsville, Independence, Lyndhurst and Beachwood, as well as the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, to reconsider the Court’s prior ruling in favor of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

The Court’s prior decision is final and authorizes the Sewer District, under Ohio Revised Code 6119, to manage stormwater and impose a fee for that purpose.

The Regional Stormwater Management Program is designed to address flooding, streambank erosion and water quality issues throughout much of Northeast Ohio.

“We are very pleased with this decision,” said Chief Executive Officer Julius Ciaccia. “Now we can focus on what’s really important for the region and tackle the problems caused by stormwater.”

Sewer District officials will start project planning immediately but customers will not see any fees for this program until the second half of 2016. Additional information about the program, including a list of frequently-asked questions, is available online at 


Monday, November 30, 2015

HOLIDAYS: The GIF that keeps on giving. Join our #h2oGIFexchange all season long.

December is upon us and we're in a GIF-giving mood.

Share your best water- or sanitation-related GIFs with us and we'll post them here to see and share all holiday-season long. Tag us on Twitter with @neorsd or #h2oGIFexchange and share the clean-water meme love.

What better way to show someone you care. About clean water.

Meet Ryan and Christen, wastewater plant operators extraordinaire.

The mouth of a sea lamprey. You're welcome.

Prospector dance.

Friday, November 27, 2015

VIDEO: @Sewer_Chic's report from our Southerly plant shows there are no holidays off

Your toilet can't take an extended holiday. Which is one of many reasons our shift workers like Christen don't either.

Christen Wood is an Operator at our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant and she was working on Thanksgiving with a number of her colleagues. She sent us this video after dinner, not only thanking her own family and co-workers who live the shift life, but thanking you, our customers.

We're proud to serve you all year long, holidays, weekends and snow days included.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

DIY: How to protect your plumbing in style when entertaining holiday houseguests

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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

HEALTH: 6 facts about #WorldToiletDay as told through emojis

November 19 is World Toilet Day, drawing attention to the sanitation and clean-water challenges that affect 1 of every 3 people on earth. The statistics bear this out, and the facts are worth talking about.

Here are 6 ways to do so without words.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

WATCH: "We expected 9. It was actually 10.5," and more facts about Lake Erie algae in 2015

"We expected this year's bloom to be a 9 (out of 10). It was actually a 10.5."

That was how Jeffery Reutter, Ph.D. introduced his November 11 City Club presentation on Lake Erie's hazardous algal blooms, a challenge that has affected water quality in recent years. But a mystery this year is why the toxicity was not as extreme as the off-the-scale metric would have indicated.

Jeffrey Reutter, Ph.D. Image via The City Club
"This was the worst [algal] bloom we've had in our history," he continued, "but it only produced about a quarter of the toxin that we expected. That's a huge challenge for us to understand right now." Reutter is a special adviser to the Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory at The Ohio State University, and he indicated this will be an important area of research following the 2015 algae season.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants was a key contributor to algae because it is key to the growth of hazardous blooms. But since treatment plants significantly reduced their phosphorus output, the biggest contributor now is fertilizer-laden runoff from agriculture all around the Great Lake.

"If we can take the appropriate actions, we can greatly reduce the amount [of nutrients in stormwater runoff]. The weakness in that argument is climate change; if we keep getting more and more frequent storms and more wet spring periods, we'll see things that are worse."

Ruetter offered recommendations to improve water quality on personal property which would reduce have a beneficial impact on runoff entering streams and storm sewer systems. Listen to or view the complete City Club presentation.

Related stories:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

LIST: 5 things you'll learn following our #SewerU November 10

We're hosting our first-ever Sewer University (SewerU) presentation to a capacity crowd of nearly 120 guests on November 10, and if you haven't registered, you'll be able to follow the discussion on Twitter @neorsd #SewerU.

The goal is to bring the underground and often misunderstood sewer network and its function to the surface to better explain how our lives are affected by this critical infrastructure. Here are 5 topics we'll cover that may interest you.

Friday, October 30, 2015

RIVER: Branches, bristles, and balls baskets built for better bulkheads

Casings with wiffle ball inserts

The latest customized contraptions along the Cuyahoga River bulkheads were added this month to help provide habitat for migrating fish, and the elements used in this phase of the project might surprise you.

Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, with the help of Biohabitats and the Regional Sewer District, installed the iteration of these baskets October 7 along the steel bulkheads of the Cuyahoga River navigation channel. They are intended to provide a safe space for fish migrating up or down the channel, a stretch that is otherwise "daunting," as Biohabitats describes it.

#h2olloween LIST: 7 comic-book characters' alter egos, and the water careers they could have had

Heroes of comic books and movies make for great costumes for all ages. But are they also indicators of career options?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier filmed in Cleveland in 2013, and before the release, we spent time examining whether famous characters' alter egos' skill sets made them viable candidates for careers in the water industry. Here were a few ideas, and the list is certainly far from all-inclusive.

COMICS: Information from Masked Heroes

Thursday, October 29, 2015

#TBT: Yes, THAT James Earl Jones narrated this 1978 documentary about the Cuyahoga River

The melodious tones of James Earl Jones' golden pipes grace the narration track of this Cuyahoga River documentary from 1978.

This clip features JEJ reading text from an infamous Time Magazine article that followed the 1969 river fire.

Cuyahoga (1978)
#TBT: "Some river! Chocolate brown, bubbling with subsurface gases. It oozes rather than flows." Hear the one and only James Earl Jones read from the 1969 Time magazine article that followed the Cuyahoga River fire.
Posted by Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Learn more about the 1969 blaze, or the 12 or more other times the river burned.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

WATCH: The not-so-terrifying but very creepy-cool tunnels deep under Southerly / #h2olloween

Some of the access tunnels in the bowels of the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights date back to the plant's grand opening in 1928.

Operator Christen Wood took us for a quick tour of the sprawling and sometimes spooky underground system, just in time for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TRENDING: Never forget, it was a toilet that made time travel possible. #BackToTheFutureDay

Back To The Future's Doc Brown and his illustration of the time-travel-enabling flux capacitor.

The future has arrived. As the past. In the present. Thanks to a toilet.

October 21, 2015 has been declared Back To The Future Day, a day of '80s sci-fi nostalgia, the date to which Back To The Future's Marty McFly travels in the second movie of the trilogy in hopes of rescuing his future family.

What made the films' time travel possible was the flux capacitor. What made the flux capacitor possible? Remember, it was inventor Doc Brown slipping and falling off his toilet:

Sure, the flush toilet was considered the greatest medical advancement of the last 200 years. But in the BTTF universe, it became—more importantly—the greatest inspiration of the entire space-time continuum.

Heavy. We know.


Friday, October 9, 2015

EVENT: Sewer University #SewerU now enrolling, your 101 course for Northeast Ohio's sewer history and water future

VIEW THE SLIDEDECK. If you missed it, you can register for our next SewerU January 26.
All participants graduate sewer cum laude with a Business major and a minor in puns.

Have you ever wondered where "it" goes in Northeast Ohio? If so, register for our first ever Sewer University (#SewerU) Tuesday, November 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m at our Environmental & Maintenance Services Center, 4747 E. 49th Street in Cuyahoga Heights [map].

DOWNLOADS: View the slidedeck / Download PDF 
RELATED NEWS: LISTEN: WMMS host Alan Cox loves the idea. Not sure about his #SewerU football team suggestions, though.
This half-day journey into the history of sewers and the future of clean water in Greater Cleveland will take place at the Sewer District’s Environmental & Maintenance Services Center located at 4747 East 49th Street in Cuyahoga Heights [map].

Frank Greenland, Director of Watershed Programs and a 27-year Sewer District veteran, will lead the two-hour discussion and Q&A session, which will include:
  • History of sewers across northeast Ohio
  • Why the river burned many times before 1969
  • How dirty water gets cleaned
  • Stormwater, flooding and monitoring water quality
  • The designs and dangers of sewer systems
  • Infrastructure: Why gray and green matter
  • The costs of clean water and a Great Lake

Thursday, October 8, 2015

SERIES: Follow the flow of h2o in Cleveland with #ValueWater, @neorsd and @ClevelandWater

The Value of Water reports each of us use more than 100 gallons of water in a single day. Where does it come from, and where does it go? and what would it be like if the resources or the systems that make it possible didn't exist?

This month's Imagine A Day Without Water campaign concludes with our tour of the urban water cycle in Cleveland. Our water partners Cleveland Water manage the drinking water side of the cycle while we take care of the wastewater. Through our combined efforts and infrastructure, our agencies deliver and collect hundreds of millions of gallons of water every single day.

Every hour today, we'll focus on a different aspect of the urban water cycle, and bring you the stats and stories that connect our work to your lives. Check some of the updates below.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WATCH | How it works: Permeable pavers at the Western Reserve Historical Society

It's not the first permeable-pavers project we've supported, but it's the first time we've had a truck dump a tank-load of water on one for a video.

The Cleveland History Center at the Western Reserve Historical Society recently completed a renovation of its parking lot with the support of a Green Infrastructure Grant from the Regional Sewer District. Green infrastructure components helped better manage stormwater runoff on-site and reduced the amount of stormwater entering the combined sewer system.

Stormwater Technical Specialist Dave Ritter and CHS Director of Operations Angie Lowrie tell us a little about the project as Dave explains how the pavers and gravel work together to filter and infiltrate runoff.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ACTION: Start a movement. Join your voices and #RespectTheFlush

Give your drain the acclaim it deserves.

Every time you flush a toilet, drain your sink, or pass a manhole cover along the curb, amazing unseen things are happening that protect public health and the environment. What can you do to show you #RespectTheFlush?

To raise awareness of the value of our water resources, the Value of Water Coalition imagines a Day Without Water October 6-8 across the country. To complement that, one can not overlook the importance of the gray and green systems in place protecting them.

How do you Respect The Flush? Here are 5 simple ideas.

Don't flush wipes.
Disposable wipes are convenient, but they wreak havoc on sewer systems and damage equipment in treatment plants. Throw your baby wipes in the garbage instead of flushing them. And while you're at it, the same goes for the rest of the things on this list.

Friday, September 25, 2015

LOOK: Have a peek at the restoration plans for two Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft sites

Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft site 5
Euclid Creek Tunnel shaft site4
With the Euclid Creek Tunnel now complete on time and under budget, the Sewer District has set its sights on site restoration at two important community locations: Shaft 4 at Triangle Park at East 174 Street, and Shaft 5 at Nottingham Road and St. Clair Avenue.

The restoration contract was awarded to Nerone & Sons, Inc. on July 16, 2015. Substantial completion for the two site restorations shown above is expected in the spring of 2016.

The Euclid Creek Tunnel is the first of seven tunnels that will be completed under Project Clean Lake. When the Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station is complete at the end of 2016, the Euclid Creek Tunnel will be fully operational and will reduce combined sewer overflow by approximately 368 million gallons per year.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

FAQ: 38 questions and answers about our #StormwaterProgram, next steps, fees, and more

Since the September 15 Ohio Supreme Court ruling, we have already begun responding to common questions about the program restart, fees, credits, cost-sharing, and more. We revisited some of the questions that existed prior to the program's suspension in 2013 and added a few we've started answering in recent days.

Updated September 25, 2015 / March 31, 2016

Background and basics: About the program

Why is regional stormwater management necessary?
Stormwater-related problems must be addressed regionally because what happens in one community can affect another. Often one community addresses a problem and may inadvertently move that problem downstream to the next community. Managing stormwater flows is necessary to protect our natural resources, reduce streambank erosion and decrease the pollutants in streams and rivers. If these issues are not addressed today, the problems will continue to get worse and will be more costly to solve in the future.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NEWS: CLEvsPIT rivalry, @neorsd faced @alcosanWWTP and clean water was the winner

Open House attendance increase tops 228% over last year as two sewer districts compete in Open House visitors, social media

Mark the Mad Scientist amazed guests at Saturday's record-setting Open House.

With the help of our 1,725 guests last Saturday, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District flushed Pittsburgh! Attendance at the 8th Annual Open House was 228 percent higher than last year's, sweeping the 5.12 percent attendance boost by Alcosan (the regional sewer district in Pittsburgh).

A friendly contest was held between the two agencies to determine which event, both held on the same day, would draw higher attendance numbers. The results came in Tuesday, and both utilities had numbers to be proud of.

  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
    • 2014: 525 attendees
    • 2015: 1,725 attendees
    • Percentage increase: 228% (Greatest increase)
  • Alcosan
    • 2014: 1,915 attendees
    • 2015: 2,013 attendees (Highest attendance)
    • Percentage increase: 5.12%

Thursday, September 17, 2015

TIPS: Rain garden resources and stormwater solutions you can use at home

Simple steps around your home can have big benefits in your yard and in our region.

On-site stormwater management helps protect water quality and reduce flooding and erosion, but having a comprehensive list of common best practices can be overwhelming. Many local watershed groups provide tips and resources. Here, we've listed a few of our favorites to give you quick access to the manuals, worksheets, and diagrams that may simplify your search.

NEWS: Euclid Creek Tunnel completed $3.6 million under budget

First tunnel under Project Clean Lake now complete, sets benchmark for future cost-saving opportunities

Tunnel boring machine Mackenzie being disassembled
after completing her Euclid Creek Tunnel route,
September, 2013
Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Board of Trustees passed Resolution 238-15, a Final Adjusting Change Order, for the Euclid Creek Tunnel. As a result of outstanding project management, this contract will close $3,602,637.77 under budget.

The Euclid Creek Tunnel, originally a $198 million project, is the first in a series of storage tunnels constructed as a part of Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District’s 25-year, $3 billion program to drastically reduce the amount of combined sewage entering local waterways annually.

“Our engineering and construction team worked diligently to complete this project under budget,” said Kellie Rotunno, Chief Operating Officer, “The Euclid Creek Tunnel sets a new financial benchmark as we continue to identify cost-savings and save our customers money.”

The Sewer District has already realized $330 million in savings since the inception of Project Clean Lake. This savings has come from value engineering, contract management and a highly competitive bidding environment.

“I am proud of all the accomplishments we’ve made during my tenure as CEO,” said Julius Ciaccia, CEO. “Project Clean Lake is one of the region’s largest infrastructure investments and this tunnel system will keep hundreds of millions of gallons of combined sewage out of Lake Erie each year.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

LIST: 3 things to know about yesterday's #StormwaterProgram ruling

1. First things first, we are reviewing the ruling now. 
Since yesterday's decision, a lot needs to happen before the Regional Stormwater Management Program—suspended since September of 2013—gets back up and running. Our priority now is to review the official decision and determine a plan for reorganizing and re-implementing.
2. No fees will be charged until after an official plan is back in place.
Several media outlets yesterday implied that fees (or incorrectly referred to as taxes) were imminent and customers would see them in the near future. That is not the case.

While we had a fee structure in place in 2013, no official tiers have been established for the relaunch, and so you should not expect to see a stormwater fee on your bill until well after we have set a new implementation schedule. We will keep customers informed through traditional media, social media, bill messages and a mailing to all customers as decisions are made.

When the program was halted, we had collected about $20 million (archived story) worth of the fees between January and September of 2013. An early step, as we told yesterday, will be for us to request that those monies be released from escrow so we can begin putting those dollars to work solving immediate stormwater problems.
3. The problems of 2013 still exist, and the solution is still regional. 
Since the program's suspension in 2013, stormwater projects like stream maintenance to reduce flooding and erosion were put on hold. In some cases, stormwater problems have become worse.
The same logic for a regional program back then remains applicable today. Stream problems that cross community boundaries can not always be addressed within a single municipality's limits, which is why we advocated for—and the Court agreed we have the authority to manage—a regional solution.

As we move forward now with full approval from the Ohio Supreme Court, our mission remains the same: Keep our Great Lake great.
What questions do you have? Post them here, or tweet or message us so we can be sure to add them to a frequently asked questions post in the near future.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

STORMWATER: Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of #StormwaterProgram

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s appeal concerning the Regional Stormwater Management Program. Read the ruling.

The Sewer District, under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6119 and founding charter, is not only authorized to manage stormwater, but impose a fee for that purpose.

The Regional Stormwater Management Program is designed to address flooding, streambank erosion and water quality issues throughout much of Northeast Ohio.

RELATED STORIES: 3 things to know now that a #StormwaterProgram ruling has been made

“This is a great victory for the region,” said Darnell Brown, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees President. “Stormwater is causing damage and inter-community flooding problems, and we can now tackle this growing problem with a regional solution.”

Friday, September 11, 2015

RIVALRY: Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland? Clean water is the business, but this could get dirty 9/19. #neorsdTOUR

We're taking the Cleveland/Pittsburgh rivalry off the field and into the water.

The Sewer District's Open House is Saturday, September 19, the same day Pittsburgh's Allegheny County Sanitary Authority ALCOSAN hosts their annual event. The two agencies will go head-to-head in a battle of attendance and social media.

RSVP: Join us at our September 19 Open House, and register early for a chance to win a prize pack!

Both @neorsd and @alcosanWWTP hope to draw well over a thousand guests each, but bragging rights will go to the winner with
  • Highest overall attendance
  • Greatest increase over 2014's event attendance
  • Most event mentions on social media September 19
"Treating wastewater is our business," said Jeannie Chapman, @neorsd Manager of Community & Media Relations, "but there's sure to be a little trash talking come Saturday."

We encourage our social media followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to mention our accounts or #neorsdTOUR to support your Cleveland wastewater treatment authority. And if you throw in any Pittsburgh jokes, be creative, at least try to keep them like our treated water: Clean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SCIENCE: Bro, do you even science? Meet (or remember) Mr. Wizard, the original Science Guy

Mr. Wizard was Bill Nye before Bill Nye was The Science Guy.

While preparing lab experiments and activities for our September 19 Open House (ahem, register today), a tweet came across our @WallyWaterdrop feed:

As author of this blog, I'm a child of the 1980s, back when Mr. Wizard was a staple on Nickelodeon. But even well before that, Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert was televising science experiments in the 1950s and '60s, showcasing the hands-on homemade wonders he created in his garage.

It turns out that The Science Guy Bill Nye was one of many kids captivated by Herbert's wizardry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

CAREERS: Military Employment dialogue to be featured among #neorsdTOUR Open House events 9/19

Among the many exhibits, tours, and presentations slated for our September 19 Open House, a special conversation about Military Employment will be featured twice throughout the day to highlight career opportunities for veterans.

"Veterans bring a really unique skill set and an extraordinary commitment to serving the community," said Human Resources Manager David Feinerman, "to serving the American way of life; and that's what we do at the Sewer District, as well."

Join our Open House September 19 and stop by our Inside Stage and 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to learn more. With more than 600 employees and 200 different job titles, we may have opportunities to help you put your skills to work.

The Sewer District has been recognized this year among Northeast Ohio's Top Workplaces and recently earned a spot in NorthCoast99's Best Places to Work for the first time in its history.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

EVENT: You really gotta go. To the #neorsdTOUR Open House September 19

If urine need of a fun, free, family-friendly event, then you’ve really gotta go. To the Sewer District’s annual Open House.

On September 19, the Sewer District will open its doors to the public to answer the question, "Where Does It Go?" Be there.

At the Open House, guests will have opportunities to tour the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center—the largest treatment plant of its kind in the State of Ohio—and conduct experiments with Mark the Mad Scientist in the laboratory. Explore the soon-to-debut Sewer Simulator, and sit behind the wheels of our work trucks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

PROJECTS: Urban Agriculture project features will protect Lake Erie, plant seeds of knowledge

"Cleveland is known across the country for its re-purposing vacant and abandoned properties for urban agriculture."

Those are the words of our Deputy Director of Watershed Programs Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells. And now, as this home-grown movement gets a boost from our green infrastructure program, a new urban ag project will help manage stormwater, reduce pollution to Lake Erie, and offer a new site for environmental outreach and education.

Located in the Kinsman neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side, the Green Ambassador—Urban Agriculture project is designed to manage 7 million gallons of stormwater a year, reducing combined sewer overflow volumes to Lake Erie by 1.6 million gallons and improving water quality when complete in 2017.

LISTEN: "The lake is burning." Is toxic algae the Cuyahoga River fire of our generation?

Lake Erie algae recently had WTAM's Mike Trivisonno all worked up. We know the feeling.

After an August show in which Trivisonno railed against the hazards of the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie's western basin, one of our experts phoned in to talk more about its causes and long-term solutions.

Frank Greenland, the Director of Watershed Programs who oversees the Environmental Services staff responsible for monitoring local algal trends, spoke frankly about the dangers caused by the blooms and how they could compare to infamous Cuyahoga River fire of 1969.

"When you're boating in pea soup, you want to throw up," Greenland said. As an avid fisherman and life-long Clevelander, Frank told Triv he has seen first-hand how water quality has been affected by algae blooms in recent years, and he considers this the "Cuyahoga River fire" of our generation.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

WATCH: Christen and Ryan's two-minute tour shows you what happens after the flush

How do you take 280 acres of tanks, towers, and tunnels, and a process that takes more than 24 hours from start to finish, and trim it down to less than three minutes?

Christen and Ryan give it a try.

Ryan Melton and Christen Wood are operators at our Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights, and they wanted to give folks an intro to the work it takes to turn sewage into clean, safe lake water.

Pay attention. They move quick, but by the end, they give viewers three key steps in the wastewater treatment process.