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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.