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Friday, January 29, 2016

WATCH: "A business is more than that. It's a person, who had an idea, a vision."

Business owners learn about upcoming @neorsd projects.
Infrastructure that lasts beyond a generation is a huge investment. Few often realize it's small businesses that help make it possible.

The Business Opportunity Program is a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District effort to expand contracting opportunities to small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses (M/W/SBEs) across the region.

"Over the next several years, the Sewer District will invest billions of dollars in sewer infrastructure," said Contract Compliance Manager Tiffany Jordan. "So, there are opportunities for businesses of all sizes in our region."


Friday, January 22, 2016

EVENT: #2016outreach contractor opportunities event draws overflow crowd

Contract Compliance Officer Diana Jones greets guests January 21.
Construction contractors from Northeast Ohio and across the Midwest came to Cleveland recently to hear details about $140 million in construction projects presented by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Sewer District engineers rolled out plans for nearly a dozen construction projects—including the Dugway South Relief and Consolidation Sewer in Cleveland and East Cleveland—on Thursday, January 21, at the Centers for Families and Children in Cleveland.

“We were very pleased with the significant turn out for this outreach event” said Tiffany Jordan, manager of contracts and compliance. “It was exciting to see the diverse businesses and operators in the room."

You can hear the full event podcast courtesy Diane Helbig below.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#SewerBowl: Because we know the biggest games are won in the trenches.

Game on, football fans.

For the fourth straight year, water and sewer infrastructure will take the field during the Super Bowl as we cover some of the unexpected #SewerBowl stats and stories from our accounts.

From the beverages consumed to the systems that take it away from your homes safely, we and many other utilities know clean water doesn't take a day off to watch the game, halftime show, or commercials. Which is why we will find the unexpected connections between football and bring you the best on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Our pups have made a prediction.


Monday, January 11, 2016

NEWS: Could @POTUS' final State of the Union bring infrastructure into the spotlight?

President Obama greets guests at The City Club Of Cleveland in March 2015. J. Ciaccia

President Obama will present his final State of the Union address Tuesday night. In addition to big-picture "reaching for the stars" commentary, could he also note the importance of reaching underground?

Infrastructure was a surprise stand-out issue in Obama's SOTU at this time last year, so what are the odds he tees it up again? From funding and public-private partnerships to signing a microbeads ban just last month, water and infrastructure have made news in Obama's second term, and some think another infrastructure push could make sense on this stage.

When President Obama visited The City Club of Cleveland in March, the topic of infrastructure was raised by an audience member, prompting a response from the President, "Infrastructure shouldn't be controversial."
"I have been pushing for us to fund infrastructure since I came into office because we've got $2 trillion worth of dilapidated roads, bridges, sewer lines, and then there's a whole new infrastructure that we have to build in terms of a smart grid that's more secure and reliable in terms of how we use energy and making it more efficient."
Cleveland residents currently have infrastructure matters on their minds as roads are orange-barrelled and Public Square renovation presses on in advance of the July 2016 Republican National Convention. At the same time, freezing temps have led to broken water mains and rerouted traffic to start the new year.

Euclid Creek Tunnel, completed in 2015
The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Infrastructure Report Card put the condition of our country's roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and more at an underwhelming and disconcerting D+ average.

"To prioritize improvements in infrastructure, there needs to be bipartisan acknowledgement that some solutions can't be put off forever," said Chief Executive Officer Julius Ciaccia following President Obama's visit.

We have huge plans over the next 20 years to reduce Lake Erie pollution by 4 billion gallons annually. Currently, our plans to not anticipate significant Federal funding since the grants program ended back in 1990, but significant construction of gray and green infrastructure will be critical to the program's success.

We'll see if this final Obama SOTU references the infrastructure challenges—and opportunities—facing the nation today.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

GREEN: 6 ways green infrastructure takes root locally and regionally

Protect. Enhance. Preserve. Restore.

These goals are at the heart of the sweeping Green Infrastructure Policy that guides the projects we pursue and helps quantify their benefits to our region.

"The policy demonstrates a commitment," said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, Deputy Director of Watershed Programs. "It lays out a future where green infrastructure is integrated across our program areas to lead the most effective applications of this technology."

Defining green

Definitions of "green infrastructure" can vary across cities and agencies, but the Sewer District embraces two clear definitions as follows:
Project Clean Lake green infrastructure
Related to our 25-year combined sewer overflow consent decree
The range of stormwater control measures that use plant/soil systems, permeable pavement, or stormwater harvest and reuse, to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate stormwater and reduce flows to the combined sewer system.

Wet-Weather Program green infrastructure
Stormwater source control measures that store, filter, infiltrate, harvest and reuse, or evapotranspirate stormwater to increase resiliency of infrastructure by reducing stress on wet-weather drainage and collection systems which increase co-benefits in support of healthy environments and strong communities.

Monday, January 4, 2016

LIST: 5 ways the end of another Browns season is like treating wastewater

The Cleveland Browns' stadium has 85 restrooms, and we have treated their wastewater every year since their return in 1999. It gives is a unique perspective on the team's foundation, and we found five parallels between the end of another season and the work it takes to clean very dirty water.

The last thing you see is messy.
This season was the fourth straight in which the Cleveland Browns played its final game starting a third-string quarterback. And it ended messy. In water terms, once the water has been used at your homes—for washing, bathing, or flushing—it's dirty, and you want to get rid of it. Flush it, forget it, and move on. You can trust us to take it from there.

Despite the temptation, there are things you shouldn't flush.
The recurring desire to flush your tickets, quarterback jerseys, or dreams for championships may be strong, but don't do it. There are things on our "Do not flush" list for a reason. Stay strong and make the right decisions.

Improvement is a process.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was quick to say after Sunday's game that there would be change, and there is no such thing as a quick fix. Changing sewage into clean water is no quick-fix either. But one good thing about our process is it takes about 24 hours, considerably less than a search for a GM and head coach.

Is your money going down the drain?
Long-time Cleveland sports fans regularly scratch their heads in despair, asking "What are we getting for our investment?" We know customers may ask the same thing when they pay their sewer bills, which is why we offer our social media accounts, annual Open House, Infrastructure Week, and more to help answer those questions. Your sewer bill is money down the drain in a way, but it's an investment in a system that ensures a Great Lake, something you can believe in well beyond football season.

The cycle continues. 
The water cycle, much like the Cleveland coaching cycle, goes on and on and on and on and on. We have faith in a Browns turnaround. If a river can catch fire 13 times and come back from that, maybe "next year" will be here sooner than we think.

Photo by Erik Drost – Creative Commons License