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NOTICE: Water quality advisory posted at Edgewater beach following Monday downpour

Today, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District posted a water-quality advisory at Edgewater Beach.  The advisory is a result of a combined sewer overflow (CSO) event at Edgewater, which discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie during last night’s heavy rain.

Visitors – particularly children, the elderly and those in ill health – are advised to avoid contact with the water and debris. 

“Last night’s overflow at Edgewater is yet another example of why we need to continue to be aggressive in investing in our sewer infrastructure, particularly if want to continue to capitalize on the good work of the Cleveland Metroparks and those who are developing along the lakefront,” said Julius Ciaccia, Sewer District Executive Director.

“Otherwise, to ignore the problems, like combined sewer overflows, stormwater runoff, failing septic systems, and illicit connections of sanitary sewage to storm sewers, that plague our local waterways would be irresponsible, and would squander the past investments made to keep our Great Lake great.”

Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the annual volume of CSO by half – from 9 billion gallons to 4.5 billion gallons – and continues efforts to reduce CSO from entering local waterways. The Sewer District’ $3 billion plan Project Clean Lake will further reduce annual overflows from 4.5 billion gallons to less than 500 million gallons by 2036 through the construction of large-scale storage tunnels, green infrastructure, and wastewater treatment plant upgrades. 

As part of Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District is currently constructing the Euclid Creek Tunnel, which will hold 60 million gallons of raw sewage, redirecting it to the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, improving water quality near Euclid Beach and Villa Angela Beach.

The Mill Creek Tunnel, which was completed in 2012, can hold 75 million gallons of raw sewage, and redirects untreated wastewater to the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant instead of local waterways.

Throughout the mid-1970s, the combined sewer outfall at Edgewater Beach discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie approximately 40 to 50 times per year. However, because of the Sewer District’s improvements to aging infrastructure, the Edgewater combined sewer overflow discharges have significantly decreased. The last discharge event at Edgewater Beach occurred on June 24, 2014. The video above highlighted our visit to the Edgewater outfall in May of 2015 for Infrastructure Week.

Other Midwest cities, with similar combined sewer infrastructure, are also addressing combined sewer overflow issues.

The Sewer District will continue its daily water quality testing near Edgewater Beach.