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WOW: “Wannabe photog” captures lightning strike, eerie shelf cloud over Lake Erie

When storms pop up over Lake Erie, our wastewater treatment plant operators are ready. It’s a bonus when someone has a camera ready, too.

These amazing images were taken by one of our consultants from Brown & Caldwell by the name of Nick Bucurel. Nick is on-call at all hours of the day as his job is to monitor some of our plant processes that are only operational during heavy storms. (It’s a pilot process known as Chemically Enhanced High-Rate Treatment, or CEHRT).

Lucky for us, his Twitter bio says he’s also a wannabe photog.


The lightning strike above was from the late-night hours September 5 at our Easterly plant in Cleveland. Here’s how Nick told us he snapped it:

The nature of the project requires us to be on-site at the treatment plants when we get heavy rains that overwhelm the collection system… Even on nights and weekends. This last Friday night, a cold front came through bringing a strong line of storms and heavy rain that also produced quite a lightning show.

As I was heading up the stairs at the test facility at Easterly with NEORSD Operations and Maintenance Process Specialists Ata Adeel and Kelly Boreman, we saw a lot of lightning activity out over Lake Erie. Before we went in to start up the test equipment, I was able to quickly snap a picture of this lightning strike through the clouds and down towards the Headworks Building.

Here was another beauty Nick captured at our Westerly plant over the summer.

In late July, we were on-site at Westerly as multiple “pop-up” convective summer storms hit the service area. Things cleared for a while before a cold front came through from the west. As I was walking back to our lab testing area after fixing some equipment with NEORSD Operations and Maintenance Process Specialist Doug Dietzel, I took this panoramic photo of the dramatic entry of the storm over the primary clarifiers.

These images tell a story of the conditions plant operators and maintenance staff face all the time at all hours of the day. If it’s not a pup-up storm on the lakefront, it’s 40º-below-zero temps, which also makes for great photos if your fingers don’t fall off first.

Thanks to Nick for the photos, to Ata, Kelly and Doug for their work, and to all of our employees enduring Cleveland’s one-of-a-kind weather patterns.

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