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Got Questions FAQ

About UsBillingStormwaterBusiness Opportunity ProgramPlan ReviewProject Clean Lake


About Us

How did the NEORSD start?

NEORSD was created in 1972 by the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to assume the operation and management of the major wastewater collection and treatment facilities serving the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Who governs NEORSD?

NEORSD is an independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio and is not part of any city, county or other governmental entity. It is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees who serve five-year staggered terms. Three members are presently appointed by the Mayor of the City of Cleveland, three by the Suburban Council of Governments and one by the Cuyahoga County Executive.

Billing

How is my sewer bill calculated?

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District calculates your bill by multiplying your water consumption (measured in MCF, or 7,480 gallons) by the appropriate sewer rate. A base charge is then added to that total.

I am a Senior Citizen. Do you have reduced rates for the elderly?

Homestead Rates are available for customers who are 65 years or older, or under 65 who are totally disabled. The property must be owner-occupied and total household income limits do apply. See our Rates page for details.

Why do I pay sewer charges for water used filling my pool or watering my grass?

The District adopted the Summer Residential Sprinkling User Charge Program in 1993 to provide a major benefit to residential customers. We refer to it as the Summer Sprinkling Program. Under this program, summer residential sewer bills are based upon the lower of average winter consumption, or actual summer usage. For more information about this program, or to apply, click here.

Who do I call regarding billing questions and rates?

Sewer Rates: Sewer rate questions should be directed to NEORSD’s Customer Service Department at (216) 881-8247 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
For information about your water rate or charges, or account updates such as name changes or request for final bills, please contact your billing agent. See your bill for more information, or select from the numbers below:

 

I see a stormwater fee on my sewer bill. What is it? What is the Regional Stormwater Management Program?

Our Regional Stormwater Management Program is designed to address stream flooding, erosion, and water-quality issues across our service area. These projects are funded based on a fee assessed on the amount of impervious surface (such as driveways, parking lots, and rooftops) on a customer’s property.
Learn more about the program.

How do I access or update my account information?

Because we have relationships with other agencies who help us with billing (known as billing agents), the answer to some common questions depend on your billing agent. These include:

  • How do I pay my bill? What are my payment options?
  • Can I look up my account online?
  • How do I change my name on my account?
  • How do I discontinue service or request a final bill?
  • How do I resent my online billing password?

To help you find the help you need, enter your property address on our Billing Agent Search and see your local officials and billing agent contact information. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Submit a message using our Ask Us page or call (216) 881-8247

Stormwater

Why is regional stormwater management necessary?

Stormwater-related problems must be addressed regionally because what happens in one community can affect another. Often one community addresses a problem and may inadvertently move that problem downstream to the next community. Managing stormwater flows is necessary to protect our natural resources, reduce streambank erosion and decrease the pollutants in streams and rivers. If these issues are not addressed today, the problems will continue to get worse and will be more costly to solve in the future.

What are common stormwater-related problems?

Stormwater-related problems include the flooding of streets that stops traffic from moving, or the collapse of streambanks from erosion that causes bridges to crumble or roads to fail. These problems occur at one time or another in every community in our service area.

What will the Regional Stormwater Management Program do?

The Regional Stormwater Management Program will address flooding, streambank erosion and water quality issues in our waterways throughout Northeast Ohio which have been ignored for many years. This will be accomplished through planning, maintenance and construction of stormwater-related projects.

What is being done now to manage stormwater?

Some communities are taking steps individually to reduce the impacts of stormwater. However, each community can generally only work within their own borders to solve problems. This does not work well because stormwater issues are bigger than any one community. These issues are regional, much of the flow from one community drains into another community. Adding to the problem is that there is not a regional agency coordinating stormwater efforts between all communities. The result is that one community can solve a stormwater problem and may inadvertently move that problem to the next downstream community.

What type of stormwater projects under the Regional Stormwater Management Program are in place at this time?

There is a list of early action projects and plans for maintenance activities that the Sewer District will do, which include removing debris, repairing streams to protect roads and fixing failing dams. NEORSD will restart master planning and inspection and maintenance activities on the approximately 450 miles of streams, rivers, and creeks in our service area.

Why should NEORSD coordinate and lead the regional stormwater management effort?

NEORSD has been the leader in clean water for over 40 years, protecting the environment and the health of over 1 million residents in 62 Greater Cleveland communities. As an established regional organization, NEORSD is uniquely positioned to address the issues of stormwater because the problems cross community boundaries requiring multi-jurisdictional solutions and coordination.

Are other cities charging for stormwater?

Yes, there are about 1,000 cities around the country and many cities and counties in Ohio, including Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Lake County who assess a dedicated stormwater fee.

Why should I care about stormwater issues?

Clean water is one of our region’s most valuable resources. It affects your drinking water, your overall quality of life, your property values, and your community. Protecting our clean water is not something that can be done by one person or one community alone. A regional stormwater management program is a critical component in protecting our clean water.

How will stormwater management benefit the community that I live in?

The Regional Stormwater Management Program is structured to address flooding, erosion, and debris issues along area streams, which in turn will protect Lake Erie, our region’s most valuable natural resource. More locally, communities can benefit by taking advantage of the Community Cost-Share Program in which 25% of the stormwater revenue collected within a community will be available for its own municipal stormwater-management projects such as debris removal or flooding abatement.

Who will be responsible for flooded basements when NEORSD stormwater charges are added to my bill?

Determining the causes of basement flooding is a complex process. In the majority of cases addressing basement flooding is the responsibility of the property owner and caused by local or property-specific issues. When these problems occur, NEORSD will work with local communities and homeowners to determine if the cause is stormwater-related and if the proposed solution is within the responsibility of the Regional Stormwater Management Program. We will also work with community officials to determine the causes and potential solutions.

I have no storm sewer on my property and the stormwater goes to the stream. Why will I have to pay a Sewer District stormwater fee?

Stormwater management encompasses more than storm sewers in our region. Stormwater runs off all hard surfaces – driveways, rooftops, patios – on all properties, and makes its way to streams, either by flowing over land or through pipes. Increases in stormwater runoff from these hard surfaces causes flooding, erosion and water-quality problems, and the Regional Stormwater Management Program will address these problems.

My neighbor’s yard is flooding my yard. What are you going to do about this?

While the Regional Stormwater Management Program will address regional stream flooding, erosion and water quality issues, problems with flooding at adjacent properties will need to be addressed by the homeowner. Your community may also have suggestions so please contact your community representatives. NEORSD can offer advice and suggestions, as well, so please contact the NEORSD Watershed Team Leader for your community. A listing of Watershed Team Leaders can be found here.

How is the Stormwater Fee calculated?

The fee is based on Equivalent Residential Units or ERU which equals 3,000 square feet of impervious area. Impervious area is a surface that prevents or slows water from soaking into the ground. Examples of impervious areas are rooftops, traveled gravel, concrete or asphalt paved areas, private roads, driveways, parking lots and patios. You can view your property’s ERU calculation at here.

How is impervious area measured?

Impervious area is measured for each parcel by digitizing impervious features such as rooftops, driveways, and parking lots from aerial photographs gathered from Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, and Summit counties. Our Fee Finder shows you the regional stormwater management program service area boundary and your fee calculation.

How would we pay for addressing these stormwater problems?

Since there are no dedicated federal or state funds available to address regional stormwater problems, local communities and regional agencies are financially responsible for fixing stormwater problems and funding stormwater programs. Monies can come from a dedicated stormwater fee that is typically based on the amount of impervious surfaces, such as pavement and rooftops. In an effort to assess a fair and reasonable fee, those with more impervious surfaces, such as large parking lots, will be charged more under the Regional Stormwater Management Program because the stormwater fee is based on the amount of hard surface on any particular parcel. Credits that reduce the stormwater fee will be considered to recognize individual efforts made to reduce a property’s impact. For more on the Stormwater Fee Credit Program, download a copy of the previously approved (2012) Regional Stormwater Management Program Credit Manual.

Couldn’t the current sewer bill charges pay for the Regional Stormwater Management Program?

Our current sewer revenue is used for a variety of services, including the collection and treatment of sanitary sewage, monitoring water quality, and control of combined sewer overflows. The services we will provide under the Regional Stormwater Management Program require a separate, dedicated revenue source to accomplish all of the Program’s objectives.

Who is exempt from the Stormwater Fee?

There are a few types of parcels that are exempt from the Stormwater Fee. These are public roads and highways, public airport runways and taxiways, railroad rights-of-way, many city-owned properties, and public and not-for-profit cemeteries.

What will be the cost per quarter for a typical homeowner?

When stormwater billing resumes in the second half of 2016, the Stormwater Fee will range from $3.09 per month, $5.15 per month or $9.27 per month depending on the amount of impervious area per residence. Account holders that qualify for the Homestead program will pay a stormwater fee of $2.07 per month. The Stormwater Fee may increase each year based on funding needs necessary to continue to effectively implement the Regional Stormwater Management Program.

What will the rate be for commercial properties?

When stormwater billing resumes in the second half of 2016, the Stormwater Fee for commercial properties will be $5.15 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) which equals 3,000 square feet of impervious area. The total Stormwater Fee for commercial properties depends on the amount of impervious area in the properties’ parcel. For commercial customers with more than 10 ERUs, or 30,000 square feet of impervious surface on a single parcel, their Stormwater Fee will reflect a reduction due to the declining block fee. The declining block fee applies a progressively lower ERU charge as the number of ERUs increases on a parcel over 10 ERUs.

Are there any discounts or cost-saving programs for stormwater?

For those residential customers who qualify, NEORSD offers Homestead, Affordability and Crisis Assistance programs. NEORSD also offers various Stormwater Fee credits to both residential and non-residential customers for stormwater control measures on their properties. In addition, NEORSD offers two specific Stormwater-Fee saving programs for qualifying schools – these are Education credits (Title V, Section 5.0804c) and a discounted stormwater rate for schools with greater than 25% of students qualifying for the Free Lunch program (Title V, Section 5.0713). These programs are detailed as noted in the previously approved Title V Stormwater Management Code. You can also find descriptions in the complete Credit Manual.

We already pay a stormwater fee to our county or city. Why do I need to pay this?

Fees paid to counties or cities will be used to improve their local stormwater systems. This is often for storm sewer or catch basin maintenance, both very necessary activities which are not actions covered by the Regional Stormwater Management Program (RSMP). These local efforts do not resolve large regional issues such as stream flooding and erosion that impact infrastructure across Northeast Ohio. The RSMP’s Community Cost-Share Program can help defray the local costs of these efforts through reimbursement grants directed to municipal governments.

Will the savings program only be for homeowner-occupied residences?

Yes. The Homestead and Affordability rates qualifying criteria is for owner-occupied residences which is the same as the sanitary sewer savings programs.

What do I have to do to qualify for a credit on the Stormwater Fee?

Customers can receive a reduction in their Stormwater Fee by implementing District-approved stormwater control measures and completing the related credit applications. There are various stormwater control measures that residential customers or businesses can implement to qualify to receive stormwater fee credits. To learn more about the credit program, you may request a credit application that outlines the required criteria to receive a credit, or you can download a PDF.

How much is the stormwater credit?

Residential customers, who institute one of the District-approved stormwater control measures, can apply to receive a flat reduction of 25% of the stormwater fee. Residential and non-residential customers can apply for the stormwater quality credit which is up to 25% reduction and/or the stormwater quantity credit which is up to 75% reduction. Schools can also apply for the education credit which is a 25% reduction. The total credit any customer could receive is 100%.

How do I apply for a credit?

The residential Stormwater Credit Manual and application can be downloaded from our website of here. Or we can mail you the information.

Will unoccupied/vacant properties be charged for stormwater?

Undeveloped properties with no structures or impervious area will not be charged. Vacant or unoccupied properties with structures or impervious area will be charged. The fee will be assessed to the property owner.

I have a well and a septic tank; why am I being billed at all?

Having a well or septic tank is not related to stormwater runoff from your property. Parcels with wells and septic systems still have stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as rooftops and driveways. This runoff eventually goes into the regional stormwater system and has to be effectively managed, which is why a stormwater fee is charged in these cases.

I’m not in your service area; how do you justify billing me at all?

If you receive a stormwater fee from NEORSD, you are in our service area and your community has agreed to be included in NEORSD’s service area.

You are charging a fixed charge for sanitary sewer and now a stormwater fee. Why and what’s the difference?

Each of the fees has a unique purpose. The fixed charge relates to sanitary sewer and compensates for unmetered water that seeps or leaks into our region’s aging sewer infrastructure and is treated by our wastewater treatment plants. The stormwater fee will provide regional stormwater management services that will address flooding, erosion and water quality in our area streams and river.

What happens if I don’t pay the stormwater fee?

Failure to pay the stormwater fee will result in NEORSD placing your account in collection status. If payment is not received after account has been placed in collection status, NEORSD may take one or more of the following steps: stop water service to the account holder, place a lien on the applicable parcel, and/or take other steps as are reasonable to collect the unpaid debt.

Are you calculating my ERUs including the non-paved surfaces where we store landscaping materials or industrial equipment?

These areas are considered in the ERU calculation because they are “developed” areas. According to Chapter 2 of Title V, the Sewer District’s Stormwater Management Code, impervious surfaces include “developed areas that either prevent or significantly slow the infiltration of water into the ground.” This includes roof tops, driveways, traveled gravel, as well as areas that have been graded, filled, or used to store equipment or materials. You can use our FeeFinder to see your property’s impervious surface area calculation.

Why is my gravel driveway, brick patio, or deck included in the impervious surface?

Gravel driveways, brick patios, and decks are included in impervious surface calculations because they meet the definition of impervious surfaces. According to Section 5.0212 of the Title V Stormwater Management Code, the definition of impervious surfaces is developed surfaces that either prevent or significantly slow the infiltration of water into the ground compared to the manner that such water entered the ground prior to development, or which cause water to run off in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow than that present prior to development. Impervious surfaces shall include, without limitation, rooftops, traveled gravel areas, asphalt or concrete paved areas, private access roads, driveways and parking lots, and patio areas.”

I had an approved stormwater fee credit before the Regional Stormwater Management Program stopped in 2013. Does it still apply?

Yes. If you had an approved credit from NEORSD prior to the program halting, that approved credit will be applied to your stormwater fee. NEORSD staff will contact you about submitting necessary renewal forms as a condition of the credit.

What about my stormwater fee credit application that was under review when the Regional Stormwater Management Program and fee ended in September 2013, is that credit application still valid?

Yes. Sewer District staff will review your application and contact you if additional information is necessary to complete that review.

If my stormwater fee was under review per my request, will you reopen the review?

Yes. NEORSD will re-open all pending Stormwater Billing Inquiries. Analysis of each inquiry will be made and results of the inquiry will be communicated to the customer. If it is determined that a refund is warranted, adjustments to customer accounts will be made accordingly.

This is a new tax. Don’t we have to vote on this?

According to the Ohio Supreme Court, the Stormwater Fee is not a tax. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on September 15, 2015 NEORSD has the authority to charge a fee to support the services of the Regional Stormwater Management Program.

How can you start a program without total consensus from all the municipalities within your service area?

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the District had the authority to proceed with its program. Consent from each municipality is not required.

Are the fish caught in Lake Erie and the Cuyhoga River safe to eat?

Fish are nutritious, high in protein and good to eat. Most Ohio sport fish are of high quality but some fish may contain low levels of chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury and lead from certain waters within the state. Choose smaller fish rather than lager fish for consumption. Smaller fish within a species tend to have fewer contaminates than larger fish and usually taste a lot better. Properly trimming and cooking your fish will help reduce health risks associated with eating fish.
Women of child-bearing age and young children (age 6 and under) should limit their consumption of fish (any species) from any water body in Ohio to one meal a week. For additional, more detailed information and to stay current on Ohio sport fish consumption advisories, periodically check the web site Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory or contact the Ohio Department of Health or Ohio EPA for the latest information.

What are macroinvertebrates?

Benthic macroinvertebrates are common inhabitants of lakes and streams where they are important in moving energy through food webs. The term “benthic” means “bottom-living” and indicates that these organisms usually inhabit bottom substrates for at least part of their life cycles; the prefix “macro” indicates that these organisms are large enough to be retained by mesh sizes of approximately 200-500 μm (micro-meters).

In freshwater, macroinvertebrates include insects, mollusks (clams, snails and mussels), annelids (worms and leeches), and others. In most freshwater, the larval insects dominate the macroinvertebrate community. Data obtained by collecting and identifying these organisms provide an excellent tool for assessing water quality in streams and lakes.

How do I know when it’s safe to go swimming in Lake Erie?

During the summer months, waters at public beaches along the Lake Erie shoreline are sampled and analyzed for E. coli, a type of bacteria that is typically found in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, including humans. When E. coli is found in water at elevated levels, it indicates that people swimming in the water face an increased risk from disease-causing microorganisms. Resulting illnesses can include gastroenteritis, skin irritations, and respiratory, eye, ear and nose infections. When the amount of E. coli in the water exceeds acceptable levels established by the State, beaches are posted with signs that advise against swimming.

Such contamination of a water body can be the result overflowing sewage and storm water runoff that contains animal and bird waste, for example. Therefore, elevated E. coli levels will often follow a significant wet weather event. Some urban areas, such as Cleveland and its closest suburbs, have sewer systems hydraulically overloaded during a wet weather event, these “combined” sewers are designed to overflow to a stream or a lake without the treatment that sewage typically receives during drier weather conditions.

NEORSD has worked to minimize combined sewer overflows and will continue to invest in water-quality improvements like Project Clean Lake and other system enhancements.

Business Opportunity Program

What is the Business Opportunity Program?

The Business Opportunity Program is designed to promote diversity, inclusion, and local business opportunities. You can find the specific criteria to become a certified as a Minority, Women or Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) in the Sewer District’s Business Opportunity Program application or you may call Tiffany Jordan at (216) 881-6600.

What are the benefits of the Business Opportunity Program?

The program provides benefits for both NEORSD and the business community in our region. NEORSD is implementing a Small Business and Minority/Women program to focus on procurement opportunities in the areas of goods, professional services, construction and engineering for small businesses located in the Metropolitan Statistical area.

The goal of the Business Opportunity Program is to increase contracting opportunities MWSBE companies, resulting in greater job availability and business growth for the local business community. In addition to contributing to the economic well-being of the region, bringing new MWSBEs into the pool of companies doing business with NEORSD enhances the NEORSD’s competitive bidding processes and ensures that NEORSD customers are afforded the greatest value for their monetary contributions.

Why would a business want to become a certified MWSBE?

Small businesses that complete the program application and are certified by NEORSD for two years will have enhanced contracting opportunities. For purchases of goods and services under $50,000, NEORSD will consult the MWSBE registry and reach out to those who are certified to provide needed services. Prime contractors and consultants will use the certification directory to identify subcontractors for NEOERSD projects as they are required to meet project-specific goals for the use of certified MWSBEs as subcontractors or sub-consultants. Only those businesses that are certified under the NEORSD’s MWSBE program will be counted towards fulfilling the District’s MWSBE goals.

What is the difference between a MBE, a WBE, and a SBE?

MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise. A MBE is owned, operated, and controlled by one or more members of a minority race. Similarly, WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise, and is sometimes referred to as FBE or Female Business Enterprise. A WBE or FBE is owned, operated, and controlled by one or more members of the female gender or what Ohio law legally defines as a woman. A SBE is defined based upon economic criteria established by NEORSD. It is a race- and gender-neutral designation.

How are NEORSD goals calculated?

MWSBE goals are calculated based on availability of firms certified in the program. The more firms to become certified the higher the goal.

How long does my MWSBE certification last?

All MWSBE certifications remain for two years. All certified MWSBEs must complete a re-certification application before the anniversary date of the prior certification.

If I complete the MWSBE application, does this mean I will be certified with other agencies such as CMHA, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and RTA?

No. The MWSBE application for NEORSD is for the NEORSD’s program only. This application is not a part of any joint certification. However, if you are certified with other agencies, the MWSBE certification process at NEORSD is easier. Please see our MWSBE application to find out how.

Does having a P.O. Box in the local area allow me to participate in the NEORSD’s MWSBE program?

No. Your firm must be physically located in the NEORSD’s Metropolitan Statistical Area which consists of Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Summit, Geauga, Medina, Portage, Trumbull (Warren), Mahoning (Youngstown), Stark (Canton-Massillon), and Jefferson (Ashtabula) Counties.

What is a Disparity Study?

A Disparity Study determines whether and to what extent that MBEs and WBEs are ly and passively subjected to discrimination in NEORSD’s contracting marketplace. The study involves a statistical analysis to determine if a legal basis exists to support NEORSD’s use of race and gender based goals in its contracting processes. You can download the complete study online.

What types of bidding opportunities are available at NEORSD?

Under the MWSBE program, NEORSD will provide opportunities to bid in all areas of procurement: goods, professional services, construction, and engineering.

How will I find out about bids?

You may visit NEORSD’s Bids & Proposals webpage to learn more about bidding opportunities with a value of $25,000 or more. When you see a bidding opportunity that you are interested in, please attend the pre-bid conference or stop by NEORSD’s Purchasing Department to view project plans and specifications.

What is a pre-bid conference?

NEORSD holds a pre-bid conference for items and projects being advertised for bid. It provides the opportunity for prime contractors to ask questions about the bid specifications and to raise any concerns about the bid documents or project schedule. Most pre-bid conferences include representatives from NEORSD and interested prime contractors. Subcontractors may attend these meetings, which provide subcontractors the opportunity to meet prime contractors who will need to meet MWSBE subcontracting goals.

What if I can not attend the pre-bid conference?

If you cannot attend the pre-bid conference, visit neorsd.org and take the following steps:

  • Click on our Bids & Proposals link.
  • Select the contract for the bid that interests you.
  • Click on the Bidders List at the bottom of the page.

The Bidders List has contact information for individual firms that have already purchased plans. You may also call the Office of Contract Compliance at (216) 881-6600 and request a list of firms that attended the pre-bid conference, as well.

If a MWSBE and is awarded a contract with NEORSD as a subcontractor or sub-consultant, who will monitor the use of the MWSBE on the project?

NEORSD’s Office of Contract Compliance (OCC) will monitor and report the use of all projects with MWSBE goals.

What if my SBE firm is currently working on a District project?

Certified SBEs currently working on District contracts will remain under the former SBE guidelines. However, you are encouraged to complete a new MWSBE application to be considered for NEORSD’s MWSBE program.

Plan Review

How do I get a permit approval from NEORSD?

Development and re-development projects in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District service area are subject to review and require District approval prior to beginning construction. Depending on the nature of the project, one or more types of review may be required. To determine if a project is subject to Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District review, submit your project information form to: CDPP@neorsd.org.

Project Clean Lake

What is Project Clean Lake?

Project Clean Lake is a program to enable us to meet Clean Water Act standards and address water quality issues caused by raw sewage that overflows into the environment during rain events.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act was created to address water quality issues, like raw sewage discharges.

Although NEORSD has reduced raw sewage discharges significantly over the years and holds permits for discharge points, the EPA considers us in violation of the Clean Water Act because not all discharges have been controlled to required levels. We and the federal government entered into a Consent Decree to address this issue.

What’s a consent decree?

It’s a document that spells out what we will do to reduce raw sewage discharges and when it will complete the work.The Consent Decree is a legally binding document entered into by your Sewer District, the Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The document details what we call Project Clean Lake.

Project Clean Lake is a $3 billion, 25-year program that will reduce the total volume of raw sewage discharges from 4.5 billion gallons to 494 million gallons annually. Over 98% of wet weather flows in our combined sewer system will be receiving treatment in 25 years.

What’s in the Project Clean Lake CSO consent decree?

At the heart of the Consent Decree is the construction of large-scale storage tunnels and treatment plant enhancements.

Gray” infrastructure: Tunnels

We will construct seven tunnels, ranging from two to five miles in length, up to 300 feet underground and up to 24 feet in diameter–large enough to park a semi-truck.

The tunnels are similar to the nearly complete Mill Creek Tunnel, a structure with the capacity to store 75 million gallons of combined sewage for treatment at NEORSD’s Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In 2011, we began construction on its second large-scale project, the Euclid Creek Tunnel System. The five other remaining tunnel projects are: the Dugway Tunnel, Shoreline Tunnel, Southerly Tunnel, Big Creek Tunnel and the Westerly Tunnel.

Infrastructure: Treatment plant enhancements

At the Easterly and Southerly plants, the maximum amount of wastewater that can receive secondary treatment will increase. Additionally, at the Westerly plant, the maximum amount of treatment that can take place at NEORSD’s Combined Sewer Overflow Treatment Facility (located adjacent to Westerly) will increase.

Also, the District has been given an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of lower-energy treatment options through pilot demonstration projects. If successful, we can avoid implementation of costly, energy-intensive treatment technologies.

Green infrastructure and stormwater control measures

Project Clean Lake includes a minimum of $42 million in green infrastructure projects. This includes stormwater control measures (or SCMs) to store, infiltrate, and evapotranspirate stormwater before it even makes its way to the combined sewer system.

Our agreement includes flexibility allowing us to consider appropriate alternative solutions whether they be gray, green, or a combination of both.

Additionally, we will work with the City of Cleveland to assess the use of vacant lots for green infrastructure projects and leverage economic development opportunities in redevelopment corridors.

This could reduce the long-term cost of the program while enhancing neighborhoods, providing economic development opportunities, and rebuilding our community.

What does this mean for the community? For customers?

It means a cleaner Lake Erie. But, with a $3 billion price tag, it also affects rates.

From 2017-2021, about 38 cents of every dollar is associated with Project Clean Lake investments.

However, NEORSD is seeking additional funding and developing rate saving programs to help eligible customers defray the cost.

In the first five years of the plan, we have saved more than $300 million through sound project management and decision-making, with the potential to save more as projects progress.

What’s happened so far with the CSO long-term control plan?

We have worked cooperatively and positively with federal and state governments on CSO issues.

Since 2004, District has negotiated with state and federal environmental regulators to obtain approval of the plan to reduce raw sewage discharges, the last of which was submitted to the state in 2002:

  • Easterly District and Southerly District CSO facilities plans were submitted in 2002.
  • Westerly District CSO facilities plan was submitted in 1999.
  • The Mill Creek facilities plan was submitted in 1996.

In addition, Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant and Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center plant bypass evaluations were submitted in 2008.

In July 2010, NEORSD and state and federal environmental regulators agreed on the basic elements of an acceptable proposal. Specific issues included the length of time allotted to complete construction projects, the cost of the program and affordability.

The Euclid Creek Tunnel was the first Project Clean Lake tunnel to be completed in 2015. And the Easterly Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station will go online later this year.

Like us, over 770 other cities around the country–including Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo–have negotiated (or continue to negotiate) a long-term plan to address sewer discharges.