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Southerly wastewater treatment plant flooded by storm, snow melt

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is experiencing flooding and is limited in its capabilities to treat wastewater entering the plant. This morning’s flooding was caused by heavy rains compounded by snow melt and already-saturated grounds.

The Southerly WWTP has experienced damage to buildings, equipment and service tunnels. The Bar Rake Building – where flow initially enters the WWTP – is flooded by 4’ of water and is inoperable. The Sewer District is currently assessing the extent of damage to the plant as well as the impact this will have on customers.

“As the Cuyahoga River approaches record flood levels, we recognize the importance of this critical infrastructure and need to invest in not only the infrastructure, but our future as a region,” said Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director, NEORSD.

The Sewer District’s Water Quality and Industrial Surveillance Department has a policy in place to limit flow from area industrial customers. As a precautionary measure, the Sewer District is encouraging residential customers to limit water usage.

In addition, three interceptor sewer pipes – the Cuyahoga Valley Interceptor, Big Creek Interceptor and Southwest Interceptor – have been shut down to further reduce flow entering the WWTP. An interceptor sewer is a large sewer that collects wastewater and delivers into the WWTP. Wastewater flow will be diverted to the Cuyahoga River. The Ohio EPA has been notified of this action.

The Southerly WWTC typically handles 125 million gallons of wastewater each day. The plant can fully treat up to 400 million gallons per day; an additional 335 million additional gallons can receive primary treatment (solids removal).

Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.