Sewers NEOstyle

Submitted by Susan Miller on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 16:06.

OK, here we go again - NEORSD is jacking up the rates customers will pay for gray infrastructure without suggesting softpath solutions: Northeast Ohio Sewer bills are about to go even higher

I have written about this here at realneo and at Green City Blue Lake for years. Is there anybody out there?

water cycle issues

more water

It continues to be a topic in the posts of others here:




Roll out the (rain) barrels in S. Euclid

It's been written about on Green City Blue Lake

But no one seems to be hearing that Ohio will be the last - probably the very last state in the nation to change their stupid ordinances and allow, encourage and direct homeowners and business owners to DISCONNECT THEIR DOWNSPOUTS!!!

It's workforce development, I know it is. Let's give more money to the NEORSD to build more deep storage tunnels when we could let the earth do what it is designed to do (as other cities have) FILTER WATER. No, no, we prefer to pay and pay and pay - Whatever you want NEORSD - You have a problem? Let us cover the cost of fixing it --- Oh I feel so magnaimous! My wallet is swelling (or is that shrinking?) with magnanimity! Can I bow and scrape even lower? Let me see...

Why oh why should residents and small businesses pay for the large paved areas like the gigunda parking lot at Stealyard Commons or Bitchwood Place or Lunacy Village or Crock of ___ Park, dead malls and abandoned parking lots throughout our region? Why? You may think that it is OK that your sewer bill, which is based on your water bill makes sense, but it doesn't. If you could divert the 700 gallons that runs from your roof in a 1 inch rainfall, you'd be keeping a lot of water out of the combined sewers and if we had a stormwater utility, you'd be saving a lot, too. But NOOOOOO, NEORSD can't do that high level math - reducing your bill because you disconnected your downspout or have a gravel drive or installed permeable pavers. That is way too complex, I guess. I think we must have a failure to do math (maybe it's lead poisoning) that we have to be the very last in line to get with the program of the concept of a storm water utility. If you don't believe me after you have read through all the stuff posted in the links above and want a "professional" opinion here it is: Paying for Stormwater - David Beach

Stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows are a huge insidious problem, but let property owners assist and lower not only their bills, but the stress on an aging sewer system.  I urge you again to question this. The sustainability czar of Cleveland seemed interested, but I hear nothing of it - downspout disconnection ordinances were to be changed in Cleveland last April.

Just looked it up:

369.15     Maintenance of Exterior Walls and Roof

(a) All exterior walls of every dwelling, secondary and appurtenant structure shall be maintained weathertight and shall be maintained so as to resist decay or deterioration from any cause.

In order to insure maintenance of weathertight exterior walls resistant to decay or deterioration, all such walls shall be painted periodically or otherwise protected in the manner prescribed by regulations adopted as provided in Section 367.10, and in full compliance with such regulations.

(b) All roofs of every dwelling structure shall be maintained weathertight, devoid of leaks and shall be equipped with gutter and downspouts connected to a public storm sewer or combined storm and sanitary sewer.
(Ord. No. 68-A-67. Passed 4-3-67, eff. 4-5-67)

Doesn't look changed to me. Check your local ordinances and let me know - disconnect or pour roofwater into the storm sewer?

Oh, give the people a break, will ya? Give the river and lake a break, too. We know NEORSD has enough to deal with without our roof water added to the sewage mix. Yes, I am frustrated. Sorry.

( categories: )

Tap that waste = food opportunity

All that sludge, slime and shite. Perhaps we could realize that we can't keep hiding this horrendous horror. I proposed, long ago, what we need and should do. Beyond methane, beyond bioremediation. I'm talking biorecycling, plain and simple. Who will bring the innovation already revealed elsewhere with animal waste to this very human, very toxic dilemma?   Compost only goes so far - but a truly energy efficent ethanol option via methanol conversion... now thats got potential.

Perhaps we will.

is Cleveland in the developing world?


I commend you for being one of the  small number of mensa in our region.

Yeah! Someone is reading beyond the Pee Dee here! And it is you!

Recycle, recycle, recycle that waste - I agree. The real trick is waste to wealth and sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.

My parents told me that when they lived in occupied Japan, farmers used human waste on their fields - my grandmother used it on her vegetable garden in Georgia and on her peach orchard and cotton fields. The Japanese version they referred to as a "honey pot" and my grandmother emptied the "chamber pot". 

You must be aware of the following report from the IWMI:

Drivers and Characteristics of Wastewater Agriculture in Developing Countries: Results from a Global Assessment

: Liqa Raschid-Sally and Priyantha Jayakody

Date Published
: 2008 -- Download PDF [779 KB]  Abstract

In 4 out of 5 cities in developing countries, wastewater is used to cultivate perishable crops for urban markets. Such practices create a health risk but provide important livelihood benefits. This study through an analysis of 53 cities in developing countries, contributes to understanding the factors that drive wastewater use. The main drivers are (1) increasing urban water demand without wastewater treatment causing pollution of irrigation water sources; (2) urban food demand favoring agriculture close to cities where water sources are polluted; and (3) lack of cheaper, similarly reliable or safer water sources. Poverty, which constrains the infrastructure needs of urbanization, is an added factor. The study makes policy recommendations stressing on, effectively applying the WHO guidelines, linking investments in water supply with sanitation for maximum beneficial impact on water pollution, and involving actors at both the national and local level, for water quality improvements and health risk reduction.
I guess Cleveland might have to admit that it is in the developing world though...

Researchers in Alaska under an EPA grant found that pet waste could become valuable compost.

Or like San Antonio we could turn human waste into energy.

We also had a great presentation by Dr. Nick Basta of Ohio State University who suggested we look into using Cuyahoga River dredge to cap remediated soils in the city. 

Use what you have, waste to wealth. 

In Switzerland as recent as

In Switzerland as recent as the early 1980's they would bring in sewage waste for the fields, many of which were directly nearby urban areas. They would do it once or twice a season. That was literally enough. For miles around the smell would take out everything for days and then if it rained the smell would be back again. Seriously punishing and brutal stuff, I actually am still pretty much scarred from that. I was once walking down a city lane when the tanker truck filled with sewage came past and all you could do was run from it, the smell was so overpowering that your eyes teared and you couldn't breathe.

from Science News for Kids.....

 Flush-Free Fertilizer

 Emily Sohn

 Most urine ends up in the toilet, as it should. But the
 garden may be another appropriate place to send human pee,
 according to scientists in Finland. The yellow liquid
 appears to help cabbages grow.

 Researchers from the University of Kuopio grew cabbages
 under three conditions. For the first group of plants, they
 added conventional fertilizer to the soil. They treated a
 second group of cabbages with human urine that had been
 stored for 6 months. They let the third group grow without
 any soil treatments.

 Results showed that the urine-treated cabbages grew to be
 bigger than the other groups. Those plants also carried
 fewer germs.

 So, how does a pee-grown cabbage taste? Just fine, the
 researchers say.

 They made sauerkraut from cabbages grown in all three
 conditions. A panel of tasters noticed differences in
 flavors among the groups, but they liked all three equally.

 Nutrients in a person's urine depend on what she or he has
 eaten. Analyses of urine used in the new experiments,
 however, show it contained amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous,
 and potassium that were similar to concentrations of those
 nutrients found in commercial fertilizer.

 According to the team's calculations, urine collected from
 one person throughout a year could fertilize a 90-square
 meter (970-square foot) plot of soil. More than 160 cabbages
 could grow in that space.

 Compared to a plot treated with conventional fertilizer, a
 pee-treated plot could grow 64 kilograms (140 pounds) more
 cabbage, the researchers say. Compared to an untreated plot,
 the urine-treated plot could yield 256 kg (564 pounds) more

 Earlier this year, the same team reported that cucumbers
 also grow better with human urine than with conventional

 The power of human pee to grow crops is only just being
 realized. Next time you flush, imagine the
 possibilities!—Emily Sohn

 FromScience News for Kids Oct. 10, 2007.

 Copyright (c) 2007 Science Service. All rights reserved.

stormwater utility - what plan?

Well, after I posted this, I went in search of the "plan" at the NEORSD site. That was before this story emerged: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District wants to add fee to handle storm water

But at the NEORSD site there is not a link to a "plan". I emailed the district public information person to ask for a hard copy. I want to know (we should all know how this will play out on our own little quarter acre plots. We will be charged based on impermeable surfaces. Right now in municipalities throughout NEO ordinances require us to dump our roof water into the storm sewers.  We could help reduce the amount of relatively clean water flowing into our storm sewers - the same water that combines with crap in our sanitary sewers and flows directly to our waterways in heavy rains. But right now the possibility of helping the problem is illegal. We are required to assist in making it worse not better. In Boston instead of being permitted to disconnect, a property owner has to have a permit to connect to the storm sewer. Boston disconnect program explained. Can I tell you how many people have said to me - houses are so close together, it wouldn't work in Cleveland's dense neighborhoods. OK, well that's over - density I mean. Oh, well those "rain gardens are unsightly and messy, those rain barrels are going to cause west nile virus outbreaks. Ohmigawd! Have we all drunk the koolaid? I posted about this water and sewer issue because I think that Cleveland and other Great lakes cities have a distinct advantage - fresh water. Am I the only person who has heard and understand that water is the next oil? We live on the Great Lakes, the largest body of freshwater in the world. That's something to protect and I am all for it. I'll even pay to see the lakes protected, but we have to get with the freakin' program, we have to NOT be the last city in the nation to go boldly after (sheesh) not some newfangled untested crank idea, but EPA recommended, Best Management Practices for stormwater management and non-point source pollution (like combined sewer overflows) that cities throughout the nation have long since adopted.

Ya gotta love Clevelanders though... This quote indicates that our elected are living in another world (or didn't graduate from elementary schools - I think that was when we learned about the water cycle...)

"DePiero wants to know if cities can opt out." I can hear it now, "Uh... excuse me, but I'd rather pretend my community is not in this watershed... so we're opting out." Yeah right and you're beaming up too.

We have to give the public a chance to be green, to work with the utilities to reduce the gray infrastructure needs we face - just more storage tunnels are not the answer. Empower the weekend warriors.

In Boston (and this is just one example) they do it like this.

Boston is dense... Cleveland is not.

Marc makes the call and writes up NEORSD's response

Can I expect doing this will lower my storm water fees?

It hasn't been decided yet whether the stormwater agency will give you a credit for installing a rain barrel or planting a rain garden. Part of the issue is whether the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District decides to take on the administration of small greening efforts or if they can get the cities to agree to administer a process that credits homeowners for doing the right thing.

The sewer district will have an appeals process if your gravel or brick or pourous pavement driveway at home isn't counted in their initial estimate, says Betsy Yingling, stormwater program manager at NEORSD.

And non-residential properties will definitely have a credit system from the outset for bioswales, green roofs and similar green infrastructure in commercial and institutional property (Yingling also hopes schools will buy into the program. Teaching about stormwater and green infrastructure may be enough to earn them a credit.).

It's an update from his February 3, 2009 post:

A regional storm water agency: What should we expect?

I had asked him if he had confirmed thia statement in his post: "Individuals and businesses can act now to avoid storm water fees by planting very inexpensive greening ideas in their property."

Answer: We're not sure yet.

Marc said he may go to the sewer district's presentation tomorrow. I won't be here, but I'll look to gcbl to see if he learned more. 

From the Cuyahoga County Planning weblog: On Thursday (PDF), the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will discuss the regional stormwater management role proposed for the agency. The increase in responsibilities would be accompanied by new fees, which have been controversial, especially in light of the continued increases in sewer rates.

I won't be there and do not know where it is to be held.