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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LOOK: Can you be afraid of heights 200 feet underground?

Can you say "Don't look down," when you're already 200 feet below the earth's surface? Based on the photo shown here, um yes.

This is the current state of construction of the Easterly Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station taking shape 240 feet under Bratenahl. Upon completion, this cavern will house enormous pumps capable of drawing more than 160 million gallons of wastewater per day from three of our Easterly plant's four storage tunnels.

The photo was taken from near the location of the star below.

Construction is scheduled to be substantially complete in 2016.


Friday, February 20, 2015

HEADLINES: "Frozen fecal matter closes interstate exit ramp." Aaaaaand speechless.

Road crews in Lafayette, Indiana, spent Thursday afternoon scraping fecal matter off the interstate. A tanker truck spilled, leaving excrement in a mound as deep as eight inches, spread across the exit ramp.

But oh that wasn't all.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the pooling excrement froze, causing a toxic poopsicle, as well as a traffic hazard.
A video crew was in the newsroom when word of this story came in over the scanner:

Hat tip to Adam @asum2326 for the link.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ALGAE: Does Lake Erie's freezing trend mean more algae in the summer?

Nearly 98 percent of Lake Erie is ice-covered right now. We were recently asked, "Is there a relationship between the lake's freezing trends and the likelihood of toxic algae blooms this summer?"

We asked our Manager of Analytical Services Mark Citriglia and he said the icy temps are not the key determining factor.

"[The rate of freezing] may slow the growth down or delay it," he said, "but what is more important is the spring weather. A wet spring will load the lake with nutrients that support algal growth. Then sunlight and warm weather will enable the growth."

Phosphorus is the element that supports algae growth. Its common source is agricultural fertilizers that are carried to water sources in polluted surface runoff. Thus the wetter the spring, the larger the algae blooms.

BONUS VIDEO: Christen explains the connection and how treatment plants deal with the problem.

Western Lake Erie and Toledo suffered the wrath of toxic algae blooms last summer, affecting thousands of residents' drinking water. The Ohio Senate passed a bill today that could impose new legislation to limit factors contributing to the lake's algae problems. But the solution must go much further.

Polluted runoff is an issue that must be addressed regionally and collaboratively. It's quite cold now to think spring, but it's always a good time to plan for our great Lake Erie's future.

Monday, February 9, 2015

GATOR: February 9 was Alligators in the Sewers Day. We did not know this.

Chickasaw, formerly known as Jenni, rescued from Big Creek by our crews in 2012. Photo by George Uhl.

Blogosphere, we have let you down.

Apparently, February 9 was Alligators in the Sewers Day and we had no idea. For this, we're sorry.

The declaration was made five years ago to commemorate the 1935 sighting of an alligator in the sewers of Harlem, New York.

In 2012, one of our crews had a similar experience as they rescued an 18-inch alligator from the chilly waters of Big Creek in Cleveland. It was no urban legend, no unconfirmed reports, but an actual alligator. The gator, now named Chickasaw, has been in the care of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo ever since where she has been an important part of their outreach and education efforts.

Largely, alligators in sewers survives only as urban legend. Should we see any creatures of such zoological significance in our tunnels underground, we'll be quick to let you know.

Consider this date marked on our calendars moving forward.

Here's Newschannel 5's story from the day:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

WATCH: Here's what 62 years of development looks like in 45 seconds

Development affects landscapes and how water interacts with the natural environment.

In this series of aerial images from the Cleveland Metroparks and the West Creek Conservancy, you can see how urban development has reduced the amount of green space across the West Creek Watershed since 1951.

Increasing hard surfaces like streets and rooftops increases the amount of stormwater runoff that discharges to local waterways like West Creek. That runoff increases the velocity, toxicity, and volume of water which leads to erosion and bank instability.

The award-winning Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek in Parma offers programs and resources to help residents learn how they can manage stormwater at home and in their neighborhoods to reduce the regional impacts of stormwater runoff.