Lakewood is confronting the challenge of updating its unique, 100-year-old sewer system to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act through active enforcement by Ohio EPA and US EPA. The Clean Water Act of 1972 established the basic structure for the regulation of discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and set quality standards for surface waters.
Why is a law enacted in 1972 just now being actively enforced in Lakewood in 2018? The answer is that, despite Lakewood’s continued progress, the enforcement has been winding its way across the country from big cities to mid and small cities. We follow on the heels of Cleveland, Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Mansfield, Lima, Youngstown, etc. We are Ohio’s 15th largest city. It is now our turn.
To find out more about Lakewood’s compliance with the Clean Water Act and read the March 16, 2020 Mayor’s Letter to City Council.
Community Update February 16, 2021
On February 16, 2021, the George Administration provided an update to Lakewood City Council about the City’s Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan (IWWIP). The video is this update is provided below.
Click here to view Mayor George’s letter to City Council regarding the IWWIP update.
Community Update January 17, 2019
Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the public meetings about Clean Water Lakewood. Over the next month the team will be busy preparing the document to submit to the EPA from the input received during these sessions. If you weren’t able to make it, photos and presentations from the events are provided below.
December 4, 2018 Community Meeting on the Clean Water Act: The Road Ahead for Lakewood
The presentation given during this event is provided below as well as the handout:
January 16, 2019 Community Open House on the Clean Water Act: The Road Ahead for Lakewood
The boards presented during the open house are provided at the link below:
Wondering what type of sewer and what outfall your property is connected to? Check out this interactive map by clicking here!
Congratulations to our Open House raffle winners:
Community Update November 15, 2018
A second Clean Water Lakewood Workshop was held on Thursday, November 15, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Woman’s Club Pavilion.
Below is a summary of the discussions and the data collected from the evening of round table discussions and voting:
Community Update October 30, 2018
Last week, the following newsletter was mailed out to every resident and business in the City of Lakewood. The newsletter focuses on the challenges for Lakewood to comply with the Clean Water
Act of 1972. Click here to read the newsletter.
Community Update October 29, 2018
On Monday, October 29, Lakewood City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting to to discuss Clean Water Act Compliance.
Click here to view the video of that meeting.
Community Update October 23, 2018
A Clean Water Lakewood Workshop was held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Lakewood City Hall. Below are the materials and video from that meeting.
Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan - Phase Two+-
In October of 2018, the following newsletter was mailed out to every resident and business in the City of Lakewood. The newsletter focuses on the challenges for Lakewood to comply with the Clean Water Act of 1972.
Click here to read the newsletter.
Clean Water Lakewood Community Discussion - Submit Your Question Here+-
Clean Water Lakewood+-
Purpose: Clean Water Lakewood is a program aiming to better manage our combined sewer overflows and protect our natural resources meeting the requirements of the Clear Water Act.
Brief description of challenge:
Lakewood is working on a plan to reduce our combined sewer overflows into Lake Erie.
Our 100 year old sewer system combines sanitary sewage and storm water. When it rains, when snow melts, and when water is flowing off of impermeable surfaces such as roofs and streets, excess flow of combined stormwater and wastewater discharge into Lake Erie or Rocky River. Under dry conditions all wastewater is treated.
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.
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.
What are Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) and other definitions+-
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).
With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, such overflows must be controlled in order to make public waters fishable and swimmable.
US EPA and Ohio EPA are requiring that Lakewood remove millions of gallons of combined sewer overflow that happens every year.
CSO Alerts & Status+-
Water and sewer rates in 2021+-
Effective January 1, 2021, the water rate will increase from $7.53/ccf (100 cubic feet) to $7.94/ccf. The sewer rate will increase from $8.25/ccf (100 cubic feet) to $9.08/ccf.
The Homestead Exemption water rate will increase from $4.14/ccf (100 cubic feet) to $4.36/ccf. Homestead exemption sewer rate will increase from $6.18/ccf (100 cubic feet) to $6.81/ccf.
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
Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan (IWWIP) - Phase One+-
Click here to read a summary of the phase 1 IWWIP presented to City Council
Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan
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.
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
- 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.