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Outstanding leadership earns Executive Director contract renewal
Posted December 5, 2008

Julius Ciaccia praised for exemplary performance, improved fiscal changes

Cleveland--In November 2007, Executive Director Julius Ciaccia was hired to fulfill the District's mission to protect the environment, public health and customers' dollars by overhauling and improving business practices. Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees recognized his year of considerable accomplishments by renewing his contract through December 31, 2012.

"Executive Director Ciaccia inherited an agency who for 35 years demonstrated continued dedication to protecting the environment and public health. However, this organization was faced with many obstacles," stated Darnell Brown, Sewer District Board of Trustees President. "Today, because of Executive Director Ciaccia's tenacity and the District staff's continued dedication and hard work, I am absolutely confident the District is moving in the right direction."

Taking helm of the Sewer District in November 2007, Ciaccia has since revamped many outdated practices, streamlining polices and procedures to assure efficiency, cost-savings and continued environmental protection.

"I appreciate the Board's guidance, support and confidence in my abilities to make changes to District practices," stated Ciaccia. "As we move into a new year, the Board, District staff and I will continue to build on those improvements for the betterment of those we serve in Greater Cleveland."

Key accomplishments include:

  • developing a comprehensive contract change-order policy,
  • enhancing services through the creation of a stormwater utility scheduled to launch in early 2010,
  • addressing combined sewer overflow problems and identifying other key projects through a ten-year capital plan,
  • developing a five-year strategic plan, and
  • identifying key staff appointments, including Director of Law and Director of Engineering positions.

"I look forward to leading this class-act organization for the next four years," stated Ciaccia. "The Board, District staff and I are committed to continuously assessing our practices and modifying them, if necessary, so that customers can feel confident their monies are being spent wisely."

For additional information, please contact Public Information Specialist Jeannie Chapman at 216-881-6600 ext. 6853.

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If it worked in Lansing, can it work in Cleveland?
Posted November 4, 2008 | UPDATED December 8, 2008

Facing urban stormwater challenges similar to the Cleveland region's, Lansing (MI) successfully put more green in their urban streetscape. Learn how they did it in a special presentation December 4.

Urban Bioretention: Distributed Stormwater Management PART 1 from Wally Waterdrop on Vimeo.

Urban Bioretention: Distributed Stormwater Management PART 2 from Wally Waterdrop on Vimeo.

It may be helpful to download a copy of Chad Gamble's PowerPoint to accompany the video:
PowerPoint part 1 [PDF] | PowerPoint part 2 [PDF]

Cleveland--Join the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Building Cleveland by Design on December 4 and hear first-hand accounts of a leading example of successful urban bioretention.

Lansing (MI) Director of Public Service Chad Gamble will lead a presentation entitled Urban Bioretention: Distributed Stormwater Management which will showcase how the city navigated funding, public perception, design, and construction issues.

The project highlight was the creation of a 1,900-foot "green streetscape" in the four city blocks leading up to the Capitol grounds.

*Building Cleveland by Design is a joint program of ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art

For additional information, please contact Administrative Assistant Tonya Martin at 216-881-6600.

Blue Ribbon panel to review project's carbon footprint is first of its kind
Posted August 15, 2008 | UPDATED September 11, 2008

International experts review Sewer District's incinerator-replacement plan to determine energy efficiency, environmental impact

incinerator_panel_08.jpgCleveland--In an effort to fulfill its mission to protect the environment and customers' wallets, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District formed an unprecedented "Blue Ribbon" panel to assess the District's current biosolids handling and incineration project at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights.

The panel, a first of its kind to be convened by a public utility for the purpose of evaluating a single project, was comprised of a group of internationally renowned biosolids and incineration experts. The purpose of the group is to objectively determine if the current plan adopts the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology. The world-class experts convened August 11-15. Details of their findings will be available here next week, and the panel will present an official report by the end of the month. UPDATE: Official final report from panel | Final summary presentation (9mb)

The District's current plan, approved in January 2005, includes the replacement of four existing incinerators with three new state-of-the-art units, which would be used to burn biosolds, a soil-like and organic residue of materials, mainly human waste, removed from sewage during the treatment process. Under the new leadership of Executive Director Julius Ciaccia, the $107 million plan was closely evaluated by this panel of the most highly respected experts in the field to determine if the current proposal is the most viable, cost-effective way to manage biosolids on a long-term basis.

"This costly but necessary project will have long-term implications. We want to make certain we're moving forward with the most progressive plan possible," stated Executive Director Ciaccia.

As part of the assessment, the panel has:

  • Reviewed recommendations made within the District┐s long-term biosolids plan
  • Investigated newer biosolids management technology
  • Investigated the carbon footprint of various biosolids management options
  • Determined whether incineration is still the most viable and cost-effective long-term biosolid management option for the District

The current aging incinerators, which are 23 feet in diameter and about four stories high, date back to 1964 with improvements made in the late 1970s. Operating at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the incinerators burn about 80,000 tons of biosolids yearly. Even though the current equipment consistently meets the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s rules and regulations, the outdated incinerators are nearing the end of their useful service life and must be replaced.

"By tapping into the best, brightest and objective minds in biosolids technology, the District is taking an innovative and unprecedented approach to objectively assessing the strength of it current incineration plan," stated Kellie Rotunno, Sewer District Director of Engineering. "It is rare for a public agency to take this type of approach toward demonstrating fiscal and environmental stewardship. It truly demonstrates the District┐s commitment to protecting public health, the environment and customers' dollars."

Internationally renowned panel participants included Dr. Cecil Lue-Hing, biosolids land application, surface disposal, lime stabilization, digestion and beneficial reuse expert; Dr. Terry Logan, biosolids land application and beneficial reuse expert; Scott Harder, financial and carbon footprint expert; Perry Schafer, biosolids heat drying, digestion and lime stabilization expert; Dr. Tim Shea, biosolids heat drying, digestion and energy reuse expert; Lori Stone, biosolids beneficial reuse expert; and Jim Welp, biosolids heat drying, digestion, energy reuse, incineration and carbon footprint expert.

For additional information, please contact Public Information Specialist Jeannie Chapman at 216-881-6600 ext. 6853.