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Monday, December 5, 2016

BUZZ: Where poo and pop culture collide, we are there. Watch Jessica take @BuzzFeed's poo quiz.

As your trusted authority for all things poo and pop culture, we considered it an obligation.

When BuzzFeed posted a "How poo obsessed are you?" quiz, we wondered—based on our areas of expertise—exactly how we'd fare in the final tally. We believed it would be irresponsible of us not to take it.

So we interviewed our own Community Relations Specialist Jessica Shutty, asking her to take the quiz (with no advanced knowledge of the questions). Her honesty and humor are unmatched in our social media archives, so enjoy the exchange.

In a related note, you can request a guest speaker on poo, wastewater, sustainability, stormwater, and a host of many other topics, whether humorous or professional or both.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NEWS: "Animal rescued from drain pipe" are the feel-good stories you need right now

In a world of chaos, discord, and debate, saving animals from precarious situations make even the most hardened of hearts feel a tinge of sentimentality.

Recent weeks have seen an uptick of news stories focused on animals being rescued from danger, specifically sewer and drain-pipe rescues that draw a connection to the work we do. Our sewer crews are dedicated to protecting water quality, but when related duties call, our men and women are ready to respond.

Below are some of our favorite recent rescues, including two of our own from years past.

Monday, November 28, 2016

WATCH: Reading Rainbow's visit to a sewage treatment plant reminds us how awesome LeVar Burton is

If you watched Reading Rainbow as a kid, or if you're still tuned in to today's incarnation of the PBS classic, then this episode proves the theme song's line, "I can go anywhere."

Host LaVar Burton takes a trip to and through a wastewater treatment plant. And while some technology showcased here differs slightly from how we operate in Cleveland, the process is largely the same, and the result is clear, fresh, safe water.

But you don't have to take our word for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

PROFILES: Pete and Todd's Sewer Simulator showcases the sights, sounds of a subterranean system

Todd Andexler, left, and Pete Lehman, creative minds behind @neorsd's Sewer Simulator.

When you can't take guests underground, bring the underground above ground. That's exactly what Todd and Pete did.

If you attended the District’s Open House this year or last, you may have walked through our Sewer Simulator. Field Tech Operators Pete Lehman and Todd Andexler are the Sewer System Maintenance & Operations masterminds behind this unique attraction.

The duo transformed a rusty storage container into an educational display, complete with running water and props that simulate a sewer environment.

Todd said that the inspiration for the Simulator came two years ago from a virtual sewer exhibit by Pittsburgh’s wastewater agency ALCOSAN. When asked about the biggest challenge, he replied, “Building the pump system to run a continuous cycle of water. We had to build it in a way that the pipes wouldn’t overflow or run dry.” Pete proudly chimed in, “We got it right on the first try.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NEWS: "I can happily announce my intent to retire," CEO Ciaccia to leave a clean-water legacy

Ciaccia has served the Sewer District since 2007.
Julius Ciaccia, Jr., has announced his intent to retire from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, effective this coming January. Ciaccia has led the organization since 2007.

Ciaccia joined the Sewer District following a 30-year tenure with the City of Cleveland, serving as Director of Public Utilities and Commissioner of Water. Throughout his career, he has been extremely active with water and wastewater organizations, serving as President of Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), Water Utility Council Chair for American Water Works Association (AWWA), Chair at Water Research Foundation (WRF), and as President of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). He currently serves as a US Water Alliance board member and locally on the Cleveland Water alliance board.

Friday, October 7, 2016

WEATHER: Do Great Lakes have storm surges?

Storm clouds move across Lake Erie behind our Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nick Bucurel.
When waterborne natural disasters like hurricanes affect the coasts, one of the biggest threats is not the wind. It's the storm surge.

The surge is the dramatic rise of sea levels and wave height along a coast ahead of the hurricane. While a hurricane is an ocean phenomenon, do the Great Lakes have storm surges? The answer is yes.

Lake Erie and its sister Great Lakes' storm surges are also referred to as seiches, changes in water levels and movements caused by storms. They can be dramatic but without the surge warning that precedes hurricane events.

Michigan Sea Grant reports one of the greatest reported seiches was in Lake Michigan in 1956 when lake levels jumped 10 feet so unexpectedly that beachgoers had to run for safety.

Lightning streak behind Easterly Plant.
Wastewater treatment facilities like ours sit right along the Lake Erie shoreline. Could they be affected by a seich? Not likely. Most storms across Lake Erie blow from west to east, the same direction as the orientation of our lake. That means the eastern and western ends of the lake are more susceptible to the large-scale sloshing of the lake water levels.

Still, rain has a major effect on wastewater treatment systems (especially in older cities like Cleveland where sewage and stormwater flow in the same sewers) and regional stream networks.

Friday, September 30, 2016

WATCH: Why we do what we do.

Cleveland has amazing water resources.

And while they are so visible that they are easily taken for granted, there are also unseen resources that help make sure our lakes, rivers, and water quality are protected.

This moving #MyWaterLegacy video from the Water Environment Federation was shown at WEFTEC—a huge national water conference—this week, and we believe it showcases why we are so proud to serve our customers and our region.

What do you think?

  • CAREERS: Our latest job openings and career resources
  • QUICK CLIPS: See all our 2-minute-or-less videos about our water-quality work

Monday, September 26, 2016

POLITICS: Print your own "Tardigrade for President" posters and make America tardigreat again.

Let America know you stand with the tardigrade.

We love the microscopic water bear and all it means for our water-quality work, but now you too can let neighbors and co-workers know you prefer the candidate who can survive pretty much anything.

Download our five posters and print your own for your home or office.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WATCH: Kids asked Christen, "How can you stand the smell of wastewater?"

How can wastewater treatment plant workers spend hours around sewage and not get overwhelmed by the smell? Former Treatment Plant Operator and current manager Christen Wood gets that question a lot, and she said it's all science.

Monday, September 12, 2016

EVENT: You really gotta go. To our Open House and #neorsdTOUR this Saturday.

Wally Waterdrop and friends are ready to show what it takes to keep our Great Lake great.

It’s the question that has confounded children for generations: “Where does it go when I flush the potty?”

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District proudly answers one of life’s most important questions this Saturday, September 17, at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights.

This annual event offers opportunities for guests of all ages to tour the largest wastewater treatment in the State of Ohio, visit an award-winning laboratory, walk through a virtual sewer, learn about stormwater management, conduct experiments with “Zach the Mad Scientist” and experience first-hand the heavy machinery and vehicles required to maintain 350 miles of interceptor sewers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

RATES: Check your bills this quarter for the latest news on rates, stormwater, cost-saving

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District customers billed by Cleveland Water will receive a bill insert this quarter offering a reminder of the upcoming rate changes, cost-saving opportunities, and Regional Stormwater Management Program news.

A copy of the insert content is featured below.

Friday, August 26, 2016

PROFILES: How Kate's ability to grow has helped her career, and the health of her coworkers

Kate in her role as a maintenance worker.
Within nine years, Kate Rybarczyk’s work ethic took her from Custodian to Plant Maintenance Manager.

“As a mechanic I strengthened my problem-solving skills,” shared Kate from the Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant. “When something wasn’t working, we'd troubleshoot to determine how we could fix it, rebuild it, or modify it.”

Kate also worked to enhance her communications skills through District self-improvement courses, and utilized the Tuition Assistance Program to get an associate's degree from Tri-C. These opportunities led to her most recent management role.

RELATED NEWS: Have you considered a clean-water career?

Outside of work, Kate’s interests include landscaping, gardening, health and fitness, and winemaking. She is well-versed in all these topics. When asked for a health tip, Kate warned against processed food. “Everyone thinks they're convenient, but studies are showing negative long-term health effects.”

Kate’s passion for health and fitness led to her involvement in the Sewer District’s Wellness program. Alongside co-worker Mitch Falatach, Kate built a community garden at Westerly visible from the employee lunchroom nearby. This year, the garden has a variety of leafy greens, green peppers, hot and sweet peppers, and tomatoes.

“The garden makes [being] healthy convenient. If the operators are here at night, on the weekend, or someone is working overtime, they can go outside and grab what they need for a salad, instead of hitting the vending machine.”

In addition to the Wellness Program, Kate is involved in the Veteran’s Employee Resource Group, and she is Westerly’s lead for Charity Choice and the Women’s Employee Resource Group.

Kate, right, says these garden boxes she built at Westerly helped make being healthy more convenient.
– Story and photos by Yolanda Kelly

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GREEN: Living wall breathes life into historic building in Ohio City

Flip a rain garden 90 degrees and what could you get? Something both striking and functional.

One beneficiary of the District’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program is the Striebinger Block building on West 29th Street in Ohio City.

The 1919 building boasts a “living wall” that is fed by rainwater collected from the roof and held in ground-level cisterns. During dry weather, the water is pumped up to plants mounted on the brick fa├žade. Catch basins at the bottom of the wall also capture and recirculate water back to the cisterns.

The Living Wall joins other District-funded green infrastructure projects in Ohio City, including rain gardens at Transformer Station (also on W. 29th) and the nearly-completed West Side Market parking lot. Together, these projects are taking advantage of Ohio City’s redevelopment activity and great soils to promote on-site stormwater management and reduce stormwater in the combined sewer system.

Story by Yolanda Kelly and Michael Uva


Thursday, August 11, 2016

VIDEO: Watch this clean-water-loving bug build its own awesome rock armor for protection

Life as a caddisfly larva can't be easy.

Often found in fast-moving shallow streams with clean water and high levels of oxygen, much of their bodies as larvae are soft and unprotected, leaving them vulnerable to predators. To survive, they've evolved to secrete a waterproof glue that binds small rocks to their bodies to serve as camouflage and armor.

PBS Digital Studios gives us an up-close look at the amazing process.

What's it matter to us? Well, finding caddisfly larvae in streams is an indicator of good water quality. We conduct surveys in streams like the Cuyahoga River in the spring and summer to collect, count, and analyze them to make sure we are maintaining the best water quality possible.

Rock on, little caddisfly larva.

Monday, August 8, 2016

SPORTS: What would happen if Michael Phelps tried swimming in our tanks?

As swimmer Michael Phelps places more gold medals around his neck during these Olympic Games in Rio, we wondered how he'd fare in an environment more unusual than a 50-meter chlorinated pool.

Southerly first-stage aeration tanks
Could Phelps swim in one of these long bubbling channels known as an aeration tank? or perhaps the round in-ground-pool-like tanks nearby?

First, such a thing would not be a good idea, and the topic is not an invitation to try it. But second, the hypothetical does make for interesting discussion regarding the treatment process and the water's physical properties.

We asked our Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant Assistant Superintendent Dan Smith that question, turning our attention to two tanks along our common tour route: our clarifiers, and our aeration tanks.

Friday, August 5, 2016

NEWS: White House, blue future? Northeast Ohio leaders to help frame national discussion on water issues

How will the new White House prioritize the water needs of America's future?

Northeast Ohio's water sector leaders will contribute to that dialogue August 9, kicking off a series of nationwide listening sessions focused on developing a set of national policy priorities for the 45th Presidential administration.

The US Water Alliance is convening One Water for America Listening Sessions in as many as 12 different US cities this year, and Cleveland is hosting the first thanks to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and other partners. Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek will host the opening event Tuesday, August 9.

According to the US Water Alliance, the sessions are intended to gather diverse perspectives on the challenges, opportunities, guiding principles and policy priorities to secure a sustainable water future for all.

Each session will convene a cross-section of leadership from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in a guided discussion, intended to help the new President's team recognize the critical role that water plays in advancing economic competitiveness, creating environmental sustainability and social equity.

Some of the participants include the Sewer District, the Cleveland Water Alliance, The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Division of Water, local watershed groups, Cleveland Metroparks, NASA, and dozens more.

Follow tweets from the event using #OneWaterUS and our official account @neorsd.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

NEWS: Trustees set rates for 2017-2021, move to monthly billing also new January 1

Construction underway at the Easterly Treatment Plant.
Annual increase of 8.3%, average bill increases by about $4 per month beginning in 2017

Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the 2017 through 2021 rate schedule effective January 1, 2017.

Beginning January 1, the Sewer District also moves to monthly billing for sewer rates for Cleveland Water customers. The move is based on its billing agent Cleveland Water making its transition away from quarterly billing. All non-Cleveland Water customers will continue to be billed quarterly.

Projected monthly average residential bills from 2017 through 2021—based on our customers' average water consumption of 4,675 gallons per month—for Subdistrict 1 (Cleveland) and Subdistrict 2 (suburbs) can be found online.

Sewer District rates are set every five years following a comprehensive study of anticipated expenditures. Officials thoroughly analyze a variety of factors, including:
  • Planned infrastructure investment projects
    • Maintenance and repair of existing sewers
    • Increased capacity at wastewater treatment facilities
    • Other construction projects including Project Clean Lake’s federally mandated construction
  • Anticipated increases in chemical and energy costs
  • Existing and future debt service requirements
Two other components of the rate increase include the creation of a Member Community Infrastructure Program which would assist the Sewer District’s 62 member communities with local sewer infrastructure issues; and an increase in eligible customers' participation in the Sewer District’s affordability programs from 50% to 80% over the rate schedule period.

The fees for the Regional Stormwater Management Program per ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit) will not change during this rate cycle.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

PROFILES: Operations team's top finish at state competition carries them to nationals this fall

Front: Christen Wood, Doug Dietzel, Dan Valek.
Back: Karl Ellis, Jimmy Spencer, John Corn.

New Orleans, here we come.

In June, the District’s Operations Challenge team competed at the Ohio Water Environment Association (OWEA) competition in Aurora, Ohio, and their top finish guaranteed them a spot at national competition in the Big Easy this fall.

Ops Challenges are held across the nation, and consist of five main events in the areas of Maintenance, Collections, Safety, Laboratory, and Process Control. Accuracy and speed are key to winning.

Our team—Christen Wood, Doug Dietzel, Karl Ellis, Dan Valek, and Jimmy Spencer, led by John Corn—took first place in Division II, first place in the Process Control event, and third place overall. They will represent OWEA in Division II of the national event at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans this September.

“This is the first time in about 20 years that the District has participated in the Ops Challenge,” said Unit Process Manager Christen Wood. “I saw the dedication required and the skills demonstrated and wanted to be a part of it.

“I heard from at least three OWEA reps and a WEF rep how pleased they were that the District is back in the Challenge,” said Operation & Maintenance Deputy Director Frank Foley.

John Corn explained how this type of competition goes hand-in-hand with the District’s training programs. “It creates cohorts who can learn best practices across the industry and incorporate it into work,” he said.

“To win, you can’t be good at just one thing,” explained Wood. “The lab people need to learn Maintenance, for example. Being able to leverage those differences makes the whole team stronger, and you’re learning things you wouldn’t normally come across in your job.”

“Events like this enhance the overall skill level of our staff,” said Corn. “We’re maximizing our capabilities and level of service to our customers.”

Michael Uva, Senior Communications Specialist

Thursday, May 19, 2016

EVENT: 5 ways our Roadshows are not your typical public meeting

Every year we study rates and make projections for our financial future, we host public meetings to offer customers more information about their fees. This year is no different. But it will be different.

While that information is always critical, the standard introduction/PowerPoint/Q&A/thank-you-and-goodnight public-meeting structure does not always benefit those who take time to join us, and it's hard to cover the extent of how we use your sewer fees to protect our environment and your health.

For the first time ever, our series of what we're calling Roadshows—Your Sewer District, the next 5 years—brings an open-house style event across our service area to help you get the most out of the experience. Here's how:

Come when you want
Our evening meetings are open from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and our Saturday event is from 9:00 a.m. until noon. You can join us at any time during those hours to get questions answered, hear a presentation, or speak to our Customer Service reps. All the dates and locations are posted to find the one nearest you.

See what you like
The driving force behind these meetings are the proposed rates for the years 2017-2021. We know there are questions and concerns, and we'll have presentations scheduled every half-hour during the events. But we'll also have information booths about previous, current, and future construction projects, our lab work, our maintenance responsibilities, and more. Stop and visit any or all of the areas of most interest to you. It's where your sewer bill goes every quarter.

Talk to and hear from the experts
Our financial folks know finances. But they may not be experts in permit limits, traffic woes due to construction, or how to sign up for a cost-saving program. We'll have plenty of the right people there to help you.

Get questions answered
Do you want to know about stormwater fee credits? Or how your business can get registered as a vendor with us for work opportunities? The experts will know what you need and you'll find help at these events.

Take advantage of opportunities
Cost-savings, vendor registration, career opportunities, tour and presentation requests, all of these are opportunities to benefit you. Stop by and take action with a member of our team.

Monday, April 25, 2016

NEWS: Special Sewer District Board of Trustees Meeting tomorrow April 25

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at 11 a.m. to review the Sewer District’s preliminary rate study analysis and possible rate schedule for 2017-2021.

The Board will not vote on rate changes at this time.

Rates are determined based on a number of factors, including capital infrastructure investment, debt service, projected consumption and cost-saving program participation, as well as predictive costs for overhead expenses including utility rates and chemical costs.

To help customers understand the Sewer District’s comprehensive plans for the next five years, the organization will conduct a series of informational programs.  These meetings—“Your Sewer District… the next five years”—will be held at the following locations:

Thursday, May 19, 5 – 7 p.m.
Nordonia High School, Auditorium
8006 South Bedford Road, Macedonia, Ohio 44056

Wednesday, May 25, 5 – 7 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Western Campus, B Atrium in B Building
11000 Pleasant Valley Road, Parma, Ohio 44130

Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus, Student Services Building (President’s Plaza)
4250 Richmond Road, Highland Hills, Ohio 44122

Wednesday, June 8, 5 – 7 p.m.
Cuyahoga Community College, Jerry Sue Thornton Center, Ford Room
2500 East 22nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44115

At these events, customers will be able to learn more about the Sewer District’s responsibilities and plans for the next five years.

The events will have an open format and representatives from many Sewer District departments—customer service, operations and maintenance, watershed programs, water quality & industrial surveillance, engineering and construction, and analytical services—will be there to share their department’s responsibilities. There will be several brief presentations throughout the event.

Additional information about “Your Sewer District… the next five years” is available online at or by contacting Customer Service at 216.881.8247 or

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WATCH: Appreciating clean-water history, future is all about keeping it real

We know it's gross, but it's true!

One hundred years ago, the earliest Cleveland sewers were designed to do little more than carry sewage away from the city, discharging it untreated directly into Lake Erie.

Untreated. Right into Lake Erie.

It wasn't until around 1920 that any kind of wastewater treatment began taking shape at the points where sewers met the Cleveland shoreline. And even into the 1960s, pollution and a lack of regulation plagued water quality, until everything changed in 1969.

Besides the shock of hearing gramps say the word "poop," Billy's reaction in the video is common to what we often hear when we talk about the history of clean water in our region. The work it takes to transport wastewater and treat it safely is complicated and costly, but critical. Appreciating our “sewer history” makes the current challenges clearer and opportunities more exciting.


Monday, April 18, 2016

#SewerDebate: The 2016 election is about to go down the drain April 26, and for a good reason.

We want to make sewers great again.

Our first-ever #SewerDebate will take place on Twitter all day Tuesday, April 26. You will be able to cast your votes in a series of Twitter polls throughout the day as we pose water and infrastructure questions about the four leading Presidential contenders.

The questions will help us know what the electorate thinks about the priorities and water-quality-related habits of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

The series will also allow followers to share their opinions on a variety of topics regarding the work it takes to protect natural water resources around the country, and important discussion as we prepare for Infrastructure Week May 16.

Join the #SewerDebate and cast your votes April 26 with @neorsd and our @WallyWaterdrop on Twitter.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

WATCH: Watershed Stewardship Center, partners take hands-on approach to education

"Part of the story is that we [didn't] have to leave it as an old landfill."

Cleveland Metroparks Education Specialist Mark Warman recently told Fox8 News' New Day Cleveland the story of the West Creek Reservation. It's a story of the environment, civic engagement, and the future of water quality in the region.

"For 25 years, the City of Parma used this as a municipal landfill." Mark explained that the reservation's history has shaped what grows on and lives in the area. But a commitment by residents and engaged agencies helped restore the natural features of the landscape.

The Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek now brings guests to the reservation. The center was a collaborative commitment of Cleveland Metroparks, the City of Parma, West Creek Conservancy, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to bring a home for watershed and water-quality education to the region.

Programs at the center and its design features shed light on the importance of managing stormwater, reducing pollution, supporting wildlife, and personal responsibility, all of which have a direct effect on our region's quality of life.

"The Stewardship Center was opened in June of 2013," said @neorsd Environmental Education Specialist Linda Mayer. "It features a lot of exhibits about how you can be good stewards, how you can protect your watersheds and what you can do at home to make the environment better. It's a great opportunity to do something a little different and become better environmental citizens."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

LIST: Fees to remedy stormwater problems set to resume in July. 3 things to know in our latest #StormwaterProgram update

Since being authorized last September, the Sewer District has been preparing for a July 2016 restart of assessing regional stormwater management program fees. 

An informational postcard will be mailed to customers this summer to remind them of the upcoming charges, explain how the fee is assessed and spent, and promote opportunities for credits by managing stormwater on their property. Besides the comprehensive FAQ we have available, here are 3 of the latest things to know.

1. The program's plans aim to address stormwater problems

Solving stormwater problems (flooding, erosion, pollution) can be difficult, since runoff from hard surfaces in one community drains into another. A Stormwater Management Program provides a regional approach to these problems. The Sewer District’s Regional Stormwater Management Program addresses flooding, erosion, and pollution problems by:
  • building projects,
  • maintaining streams and large pipes that carry stormwater,
  • addressing regional drainage problems,
  • providing technical expertise to communities, and
  • developing green space.

2. The fee is assessed based on impervious surface.

The more impervious surfaces—parking lots, rooftops, and driveways—on your property, the greater your stormwater fee. Visit our online FeeFinder to determine your stormwater fee.

Residential properties

The fee is based on an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) equal to 3,000 sq. ft. of impervious surface, such as roof and driveway. The rate for one (1) ERU is $5.15 per month. Residences are placed in one of three categories:
  • Tier 1 (less than 2,000 sq. ft. impervious surface)
  • Tier 2 (2,000 to 4,000 sq. ft.)
  • Tier 3 (more than 4,000 sq. ft.)
For 2016, a Tier 1 house pays $3.09 per month, a Tier 2 house pays $5.15, and a Tier 3 house pays $9.27.

Non-residential properties

A non-residential property is billed on the total number of ERUs of impervious surface it has. Visit our online FeeFinder to determine what you will be charged:

3. You have opportunities to reduce your stormwater fee.

Customers can receive a fee reduction—known as a fee credit—if they take measures to manage stormwater flowing from their properties. (Examples include rain barrels, rain gardens, and cisterns.) You can learn more about these credits and educational resources at or contact a Watershed Team Leader for details about opportunities on your property.

Contact us

If you have stormwater fee questions, check out our FAQ, or you can reach us in several ways:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TRENDING: 5 other things that make Crying Jordan cry

The meme to end all memes wants you to know that some things are worth crying over. Here are five unexpected events that get Crying Jordan all misty.

Seeing you flush your unused meds down the toilet.
Crying Jordan reminds you to dispose of your pills safely. Flushing them can affect health and the environment, and here's why:

Watching you apply way too much fertilizer on your lawn.
Fertilizer is a key contributor to algae blooms like those in Lake Erie. Stop Jordan's tears by checking out suggestions from Popular Mechanics.

People who leave dog poop without picking it up.
Jordan shouldn't have to see this, too. Help him out. Pick it up, throw it away.

A sink drain clogged with fats, oils and grease.
Don't pour these things down your kitchen drain. Cool them and throw them in the trash to prevent clogs. We also recommend not putting any of these 15 items down your drain.

People who think it's OK to flush disposable wipes.
Oh the tears! Even wipes that are marketed as "flushable" really aren't. They don't break down like toilet paper. Or crying Jordan.

Monday, March 21, 2016

SCIENCE: Tardigrade takeover? How the indestructible water bear parallels "The Walking Dead"

For all you The Walking Dead fans out there, you may be surprised to see a similarity between this AMC franchise and the science of water quality.

We introduce you to the Are-you-kidding-me?-Is-that-thing-still-alive?!? water bear, also known as the tardigrade.

These microscopic buggers are known for their ability to endure the most extreme of conditions—from heat, to cold, to radiation, to the very vacuum of space. These guys know how to survive for the long haul, and those who study them have referred to water bears as "indestructible."

Now water bears aren't out to takeover the world, and we find them to be friends in our water-analysis efforts. But if a sci-fi style "tardigrade apocalypse" was imminent, how might we defend ourselves?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

HEALTH: How can drinking cause dehydration?

Why drinking responsibly means hydrating responsibly

Whether celebrating a holiday or the end of a work week, many people kick back a glass of their favorite beverage to toast the occasion. If that beverage is alcohol, we hope you drink responsibly, but with that comes responsible hydration.

Did you know alcohol dehydrates you? drinkaware UK explained that alcohol acts as a diuretic, acting on your kidneys to make you expel more liquid than you are consuming.

That's what increases your number of trips to the bathroom when consuming alcohol: Once you head to the bathroom to pass the liquid you just drank, you'll feel the urge to go again soon after because of the diuretic effect drawing additional liquid from your body. That can lead to dehydration and increase the likelihood of a rough day-after.

We're in the wastewater-treatment business, so we're prepared to handle as many trips to the bathroom as you need. But we do encourage keeping water in your drinking routine. It can reduce the impacts of alcohol on your system, and it's a healthier option overall. We'll even give you a fancy drink name to go along with that glass of tap if that helps.

Hydrate responsibly, celebrate responsibly, and flush responsibly.

Image credit Flickr Maya83 Creative Commons