Clean Water Challenges and Goals
When our City’s sewers were built in the early 1900s, investments were made using state of the art approaches to address the flooding and public health requirements for the City. This system includes in many locations a single pipe that carries combined wastewater and stormwater, often intermingled with other two-pipe systems for sanitary and storm water. These pipes were later connected together through interceptors and eventually connected to a wastewater treatment plant.
Under dry conditions, all of the wastewater is treated by Lakewood’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and then it is discharged into Lake Erie. When it rains, when snow melts, and when water is flowing off of impermeable surfaces such as roofs, foundation drains, and streets, excess flow of combined stormwater and wastewater discharge into Lake Erie or Rocky River.
Combined sewer systems are found throughout many older communities across the States. With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, such overflows and other discharges must be controlled or eliminated in order to make water fishable and swimmable, among other uses.
To resolve this waste overflow problem, US EPA and Ohio EPA have mandated that Lakewood capture, treat or remove the millions of gallons of overflow that happens every year. As with the original investments in the City, Lakewood must invest in infrastructure so that it meets the demands of Lakewood’s second century, under the law and for the benefit of human and environmental health.
What are Combined Sewers?
Combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. Most of the time, combined sewer systems transport all of their wastewater to a sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged to a water body. During periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, however, the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant. For this reason, combined sewer systems are designed to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater directly to nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies.
These overflows, called combined sewer overflows (CSOs), contain not only stormwater but also untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris. They are a significant water pollution concern for the approximately 772 cities in the U.S. that have combined sewer systems (EPA, 2014).
Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan
Clean Water Lakewood+-
The Clean Water Lakewood task force is a group of Lakewood residents and business owners assembled to help identify the best paths forward for water infrastructure in Lakewood. This group is focusing on facilitating best solutions for controlling sewage overflows.
Resource Group for Clean Water Lakewood Project:
- Robert H. Greytak, PE, firstname.lastname@example.org, Engineer and Program Facilitator at CT Consultants, focus areas include water and waste water.
- Kristin M. Hopkins, AICP, email@example.com, Planner and Lead Program Facilitator at CT Consultants, focusing on urban planning and community supported decision making.
- Joyce M. Bond, RLA, firstname.lastname@example.org, Landscape Architect and Program Facilitator at CT Consultants, focus area includes: green infrastructure.
- Julia G. Lazar, PhD, email@example.com, Scientist and Program Facilitator at CT Consultants, applied researcher in industry, government, and academia; focus includes pollution transformations, hydrology, and scientific communication.
- Louis L. McMahon, JD, firstname.lastname@example.org, Environmental Lawyer hired by City of Lakewood focusing on Clean Water Act compliance, partner at McMahon DeGulis LLP
- Joseph J. Beno, PE, email@example.com, Director of Public Works, Lakewood
- Mark K. Papke, PE, CPESC, firstname.lastname@example.org, City Engineer, Lakewood
- Shannon C. Strachan, JD, email@example.com, Assistant to the Mayor, Lakewood
- Bryce Sylvester, AICP, firstname.lastname@example.org, City Planner, Lakewood
- Jared Bartley, email@example.com, Rocky River Watershed Coordinator
- Ermelindo Gomes, Ohio EPA, firstname.lastname@example.org ,330-963-1196, Environmental Engineer
Summary of Ohio EPA (NPDES) permit requirement+-
Summary of Ohio EPA (NPDES) permit requirement
- Characterize the system
- Monitor and record all overflows
- Create an integrated plan that addresses overflows from combined sewers and interconnected pipes
- Install high rate treatment at the sewage treatment plant to expand treatment of wet weather flows
- Analyze alternatives that can bring overflows into compliance
- Bring all overflow discharges into compliance with the Clean Water Act to minimize human and environmental health impacts
Ohio EPA Permit Deadlines
Deadline Ohio EPA Requirement September 2014 New NPDES Permit Issued September 2016 Design specifications of High Rate Treatment (HRT) due to Ohio EPA, as well as feasible alternatives plan created March 2018 Submit a permit to install HRT plan, and any other measure decided on, and begin construction within 6 months of permit being approved March 2019 Alternatives analysis and plan, including financials, for dealing with other overflows September 2022 Construction of HRT is complete
Calendar of Events / Task force schedule+-
- Meetings are open to the public, and take place the third Tuesday of every month, starting at 7 p.m..
- Regular updates and meeting notes will be posted on the City’s website.
- Any comments you may have can be submitted to working group individuals or Shannon Strachan.
We will spend the first few monthly meetings going over background information, providing educational resources for understanding the problem and discussing possible solutions.
Specifically, the next two meetings will be field trips: one to show you the sewage treatment plant and one which focuses on green infrastructure.
- Tuesday, Aug. 11 we meet at Lakewood Municipal Waste Water Treatment plant, 1699 Cleveland Metro Park Dr, at 7 p.m.. We will gain an understanding of how a treatment plant works, and how it has evolved over time. We will also look at one overflow site right near the plant, which overflows into Rocky River.
- Wednesday, Aug. 26 we meet at the Watershed Stewardship Center to learn about green infrastructure options, 2277 W Ridgewood Dr, Parma, OH 44134. The tour starts at 7 p.m. sharp, please arrive a few minutes early.
- After that, we plan to have our September, October, and November meetings at the University of Akron, Lakewood campus, multi-use room.
- December, January, and February meetings may be held at City Hall depending on auditorium availability.
In the news+-
- Lakewood Launches Pilot Study to Reduce Wastewater Overflows
- A New Playground in the Bronx Soaks Up the City’s Problematic Storm Water
- Toxic Tour of Lake Erie Bolsters Coalition’s Call for Cleanup
- AP Investigation: Filthy Rio water a threat at 2016 Olympics
- New Study Begins at Waste Water Treatment Plant
- Innovative Local Development Leverages EPA’s New Integrated Planning Framework
Lakewood sewers: In photos+-
The “Five Mile Crib” in Lake Erie, our source of drinking water. Photo provided by Cleveland State University’s Special Collections Department.
Building sewers on Clifton Boulevard, 1920’s. Photo provided by Cleveland State University’s Special Collections Department.
Belle Avenue during spring flooding in 1913.
The current Lakewood Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), located at 1699 Metropark Drive, began operating in 1965. It replaced the original plant, which opened in 1903. This turn-of-the-century photo shows early construction of the original plant. Photo provided by Cleveland State University’s Special Collections Department.
Excess water that flows into sewer pipes from groundwater and stormwater is called infiltration and inflow, or I/I. Most I/I is caused by aging infrastructure that needs maintenance or replacement. During a rain event, I&I take up valuable sewer capacity and as a result, the sanitary sewer system may become overloaded and cause overflows or basement flooding.
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting summary, July 15, 2015
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting summary, August 11, 2015
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting summary, Aug. 26, 2015
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting summary, Sept. 15, 2015
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting summary, Oct. 20, 2015
- Tour of Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek Reservation
- Lakewood City Council, final presentation on July 5
For questions about Clean Water Lakewood, or for meeting summaries, please contact Shannon Strachan at email@example.com.
- Lakewood Waste Water Treatment Plant map
- Lakewood CSO map
- Overflow/Outfall map
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting, July 15, 2015
- Clean Water Lakewood meeting, Aug. 11, 2015
- Bill Crute handout
- Progress Report – Lakewood
- Green and Grey Toolbox
- Lakewood Sewer Plan
- Environmental Protection Agency’s FAQs about the Integrated Municipal Storm Water and Waste Water Planning