Clean Water Lakewood Volunteers: Educated and Engaged On Overflows | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Clean Water Lakewood Volunteers: Educated and Engaged On Overflows

January 15, 2016

Clean Water Lakewood: Rebuilding the Pipeline for Our Future, is a group of citizen volunteers committed to understanding Lakewood’s sewer infrastructure to continue improvements and reduce wastewater overflows.

Lakewood’s sewer system is a unique collection of types of pipes linked together over several decades. The system performs well in most conditions and Lakewood has been making sustained progress in implementing updates and new projects. Lakewood’s unique system requires additional assessment and planning to select further improvements, which will include significant municipal investments over many years.

“Clean Water Lakewood volunteers bring a variety of perspective’s and expertise to this important issue,” said Shannon Strachan, Executive Assistant to the Mayor. “The group has met monthly since July, working toward suggesting infrastructure ideas to be considered for Lakewood.”

Possibilities include combinations of increasing perviousness through green infrastructure, increasing retention via storage, eliminating cross-connections between storm and sanitary sewers, and increasing capacity at the waste water treatment plant.

The questions confronting Clean Water Lakewood are intricate, and connected to issues of development, land use, building codes and affordability. Consequently, meeting topics have included: the Clean Water Act of 1972, Lakewood’s discharge permit requirements, EPA’s Integrated Planning Framework, how private property can affect sewer overflows, and advantages & disadvantages of various infrastructure options.

Two field trips offered useful perspectives. First, the group toured Lakewood’s Water Pollution Control Facility, and learned about Lakewood’s high-performing treatment plant, as well as nearby combined sewer overflows, and the intended high rate treatment plant coming in the next 5-10 years. Led by William Crute, Division Manager of Lakewood’s treatment plant, the field trip underscored the challenges of dealing with wet weather flow.

The second field trip was an interactive tour of the Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma. Jennifer Grieser, Area Manager of Urban Watersheds at the Cleveland Metroparks, led a tour of the green infrastructure installed around the premises to reduce stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. Additionally, she spoke of maintenance required and pros and cons of the various options experienced during the few years it has been installed at the Center.

The work of this citizen group, as well as the City of Lakewood, is part of the development of Lakewood’s Integrated Wet Weather Plan under Ohio EPA issued permit that is working to reduce wastewater overflows into Rocky River and Lake Erie. All meeting handouts and summaries are available at: under the sub heading “Meeting Summaries.” The general public can offer comments by emailing the Mayor’s Office at or calling 529-6600.