Stay connected. Subscribe today.

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.

MEMORIAL: Louis Stokes' legacy in Northeast Ohio touches environment, infrastructure, education

By U.S. Congress [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
Congressman Louis Stokes was known for many things. While his actions to protect clean water may not be one of them, it should be.

Congressman Stokes, who passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer, was pivotal in securing Federal funding for Northeast Ohio infrastructure that helped improve and further protect the water quality of Lake Erie.

"Congressman Stokes had an impact on our region that is broad and lasting," said our Director of Administration and External Affairs Constance T. Haqq. "His focus on civil rights and the poor is well known, but our clean-water infrastructure was also something that improved through his influence."

While Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Stokes secured more than $60 million in special appropriations in the early 1990s to convert our Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant from a failed physical-treatment process to a new biological facility.

In 1998, the Sewer District established the Louis Stokes Environmental Studies Scholarship in his honor to provide assistance to deserving Central State University students majoring in Water Resources Management, Industrial Technology, and Environmental Engineering.

Denise Phillips was a Central State University student and a recipient of the Stokes Scholarship. She is currently an Investigator in our Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance department. "The scholarship provided me with the opportunity to intern with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District," she said. "I'm pursuing my career at the Sewer District in a field that I love. This scholarship was life-changing for me and I am so grateful to Louis Stokes for this wonderful opportunity."

"I admire Mr. Stokes' legacy," said Lamar Legrone, a 2011-2013 Stokes scholarship recipient. "His dedication to Cleveland and his role in Congress opened doors for many inner-city students."

Fellow recipient Daniel Peoples (2013-2015) agreed. "Mr. Stokes gave urban youths a much better situation. He will be missed." 

Friday, August 14, 2015

VIDEO: How to make your own lava lamp

Turn a few simple household products into this great kids craft, Sunday afternoon project, or science-class demo.

Leslie tells us how density and reactions help make these ingredients move like the lava lamps of the 1970s.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PERSPECTIVE: What if a toxic spill the likes of Colorado's #AnimasRiver struck the Cuyahoga?

While the Cuyahoga River has had its share of challenges, none compare to the catastrophe going on in Colorado.

An Environmental Protection Agency project to reduce pollution seeping into the Animas River resulted in a breach that caused an estimated 3 million gallons of gold-mine wastewater to rush into the river, turning the water mustard yellow and leaving officials scrambling to assess the damage while residents seek answers and await test results.

As an agency prepared to respond to HAZMAT situations, I asked our Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance team how we might respond to a disaster like this had anything like it struck the Cuyahoga River.

Scott Broski put it pretty bluntly.

"In terms of control, based on what has been released and the volume, I’m not sure what anyone can do to control a spill of this magnitude." Scott is the Superintendent of Environmental Services, and said a major challenge in this situation is an inability to strategically collect the material.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

GAME: The only #GOPdebate drinking (water) game you need

The best way to drink responsibly is to drink water, and lots of it.

So while Rolling Stone Magazine and many others have gotten attention for their #GOPdebate "drinking games" in advance of Cleveland's event tonight, we recommend the following: A drinking water game about water.
  • When a candidate mentions Cleveland? Water.
  • "Infrastructure" reference? Water.
  • When you see a candidate sip from a water glass? Water.
  • "Lake Erie" or a Great Lakes reference? Water.

Print your own sheet, turn on that kitchen tap, and stay hydrated while you play along. (And with the RNC coming to town next year, you might as well print extra copies.)


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2016: 3 ways water could take center stage at Thursday's Republican debate #GOPdebate

Senator Marco Rubio sips water during the GOP response to the 2013 State of the Union address.

We don't often talk politics. We talk water. But with the first 2016 Republican Debate taking place this Thursday right here in Cleveland, hey let's talk both.

Water could very well take center stage with the candidates this week, and we see three areas where it's most likely to happen.

1. Public speaking and staying hydrated

When Paul Ryan (R-WI) debated now Vice President Joe Biden in 2012, much attention was paid to his many sips of water between questions.

Whatever side of the aisle you're on, professional public speakers do recommend drinking plenty of water before big speaking engagements to keep oneself hydrated and dry-mouth-free on stage.

But as Senator Marco Rubio can attest, drinking water—bottled water BTW—during a big speech caaaaan get a little awkward.

POTUS: 3 videos to celebrate President Obama's 54th birthday

What better way to commemorate President Barack Obama's 54th birthday today than with his three public service announcements that advocate clean water. Share accordingly.