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From the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

to our communities

Were partnering with community


leaders and getting involved with our
neighborhoods, schools, and residents in
an effort to keep our Great Lake great
and our communities strong.

A glimpse at who we are and what we do


Formed in 1972, the Northeast Ohio Regional
Sewer District treats more wastewater than any
other wastewater treatment system in Ohio.

The water we treat is returned safely to


Lake Erie, the source of our water.
In addition to managing sewage and stormwater
throughout the region, the Sewer District is
actively involved in a number of initiatives and
partnerships that benefit the communities we

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serve and complement our efforts to protect


and improve water quality.
The Districts goals in pursuing these
community programs are to improve local sewer
infrastructure and wastewater and stormwater
management, while enhancing the local economy
and quality of life. In addition, we are preparing
a future workforce for jobs in wastewater
treatment and other essential industries.

Contents

0304 The foundation of our work

0506 Partnering for


a bigger impact

0910 Engaging and educating our community


0304 Our Core Business: Managing wastewater and stormwater,

Reducing combined sewer overflows, Protecting water quality
0506 Partnerships: Metroparks, Sustainable Cleveland, Earth Day

Coalition, Student programs and Cleveland schools, Student

Technical Enrichment Program, Drink Local. Drink Tap.
0708 Economic Impact: Business Opportunity Program,

Watershed organizations, Careers in Utilities

0708 Investing in our economy

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0910 Community Outreach: Open House and other events,



Good Neighbor Ambassadors, School programming and

Speakers Bureau, Advocacy campaigns

John Quinn

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The foundation
of our work
Managing wastewater and stormwater

Beach Monitoring

The Sewer District takes dirty water from homes and industry,
as well as stormwater flowing into the sewer system, and uses
mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to safely clean
and return that water to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.
Our three wastewater treatment plants treat an average of
238 million gallons a dayabout 86 billion gallons a year.

The Sewer District is actively involved in monitoring


environmental safety in our local waterways and at our
beaches. Our laboratory and water-quality investigators
sample and test the water in Lake Erie during the recreation
season (May-October) and any other time we believe public
health may be affected. District investigators also inspect
area streams, searching for improper discharges of sanitary or
industrial sewage to the environment.

The District works with local communities to ensure that


local sewer infrastructure, as well as streams and tributaries,
are properly maintained, and provides related support
services so that we can meet our federally- and statemandated responsibilities to the region. The Districts
oversight also helps communities address basement flooding
and sanitary sewer overflows.

Reducing combined sewer overflows


A $3 billion, 25-year program, Project Clean Lake is the Sewer
Districts agreement with the Department of Justice, U.S. EPA,
Ohio EPA, and the Ohio Attorney Generals Office to reduce
the volume of sewage discharges into the environment, from
4.5 billion gallons to 494 million gallons annually.
Project Clean Lake includes the construction of large-scale
storage tunnels and treatment plant enhancements, as well as
the use of green infrastructure projects to control stormwater
before it makes its way to the combined sewer system.
The Sewer District has worked with the City of Cleveland
and other partners to incorporate vacant lots into its
green infrastructure projects. These projects enhance
neighborhoods with new open space and the removal of
distressed properties, while providing economic development
opportunities and rebuilding communities.

Protecting water quality


Industrial Monitoring/Pretreatment
The Districts Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance
(WQIS) department is responsible for enforcing discharge
limits on local businesses that use hazardous chemicals
(mercury and heavy metals, for example) in their processes.
Ohio EPA has noted WQISs excellent oversight of significant
industrial users, such as electroplating facilities.

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protecting water
resources in our region is
our primary mission.
Certified lab
Analytical Services is the Districts laboratory, which tests the
wastewater at our plants before it re-enters the Cuyahoga
River and Lake Erie. In 2007, Analytical Services became
the first laboratory of its kind in Ohio to earn certification
by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation
Conference. In 2009, the lab was awarded a contract to
perform analytical work for the Cuyahoga County Board of
Health, and it is now certified by Ohio EPA to do drinking
water analyses.
In 2014, the lab made major capital investments, including
equipment to analyze harmful algal blooms and emerging
contaminants, and a new gas chromatograph with a mass
spectrometer for the analysis of organic compounds.

Partnering for a
bigger impact
The District maintains several partnerships with local organizations whose
work to enhance quality of life in Northeast Ohio aligns with our own mission
to protect water quality. By leveraging our partner resources, we broaden the
publics understanding of, and support for, the Districts work.
Cleveland Metroparks
In 2013, the Sewer District partnered with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and WKYC TV-3 to
educate viewers about water quality at area beaches, and swimming safety updates were posted via
Twitter. In addition, a new partnership with Cleveland Metroparks that included the District purchasing
beach-cleaning machines resulted in better overall quality for Euclid Beach and Edgewater Park.
Also in 2013, the District and Metroparks celebrated the dedication of the Watershed Stewardship
Center at West Creek, in Parma. The District supported the center with $3 million towards
construction and permanent on-site staff. The Center received a 2013 Award of Excellence from the
Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, and is an opportunity to expand the Districts watershed- and
environmental-education efforts.

Sustainable Cleveland
Since 2011, Sustainable Cleveland has focused each year on a key area (such as Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Resources) fundamental to a sustainable economy. Sustainable Clevelands focus in 2015
is Clean Water, and the Sewer District is serving as a partner in the all-year celebration of our regions
water resources and the work it takes to protect them. Working with the Cleveland Water Alliance
and Cleveland Division of Water, we are heightening the publics awareness of the gift of clean water.
The Sewer District celebrates clean water every year, every day!

Earth Day Coalition


The District sponsors EarthFest, staffing several exhibits and hands-on demonstrations. In addition,
we participate in Earth Day Coalitions NatureHood program to restore and improve green space in
Cleveland by creating a network of native plant naturescapes on vacant and abandoned properties.
These efforts are important for demonstrating how stormwater management practices can be
incorporated into vacant land reuse.

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Student programs and Cleveland schools

Student Technical Enrichment Program

One component of the Sewer Districts Strategic Plan is


developing partnerships to attract future talent. Our student
programs enhance, subsidize, and facilitate the education
of students in Cleveland. We hope to encourage interest
in technical disciplines and career possibilities at the
Sewer District, and we consider our involvement to be an
investment in the future prosperity of our region.

Initiated in 1994 by MWH Global (Formerly Montgomery


Watson Harza), the Student Technical Enrichment Program
(STEP) is designed to pique student interest in career fields
involving mathematics, science, engineering, and other
technical fields. Through Saturday tours to different sites,
the students are able to see how various jobs use these
backgrounds as a foundation to complete a job function
within their community. Tour sites include NASA and the
Districts wastewater treatment plants, with curriculum
tailored to each site visit.

The District has maintained collaborative projects with


Cleveland-area schools, and currently works with the
Cleveland Rowing Foundation to educate kids about
watersheds by getting them out on the water.

Dominion and the District serve as lead sponsors of


the ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland, introducing
Collinwood High School students to concepts in
architecture, construction, and engineering.
In addition, the District offers work opportunities for students
in St. Martin de Porres High Schools Corporate Work
Study Program and Trinity High Schools Pre-Professional
Internship Program.

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Drink Local. Drink Tap.


Local non-profit Drink Local. Drink Tap. addresses water
issues through education and outreach events. The District
collaborates on annual World Water Day events in Cleveland,
drawing attention to the value of water in daily life.

Eric Mull

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Investing in our
economy
The Sewer District employs more than 700 people and supports small and
local businesses by providing contract opportunities. In addition, we seek to
educate the public about career opportunities in our industry.
Key study findings
Jobs
The Sewer Districts operations and capital plan investments
contribute significantly to the local economy, in terms of
both dollars and jobs. The Districts estimated economic
contribution to the region will total $6 billion over the next
decade, supporting 3,970 jobs over that same period.
Construction Projects
A 2013 job opportunity analysis by Cleveland State University
determined the jobs benefit of construction projects on the
community. It is estimated that the District will employ an
average of 271 construction workers per year from 2013-2036,
with the highest yearly employment totaling 578 in 2015.
Green Infrastructure
A study by Green For All, LAND Studio, and Cleveland State
University found that performing operation and maintenance
on green infrastructure projects in Northeast Ohio has the
potential to create an additional 219 jobs and over $23 million
in economic activity. These jobs not only represent substantial
local economic development activity, they also preserve the
long-term health and performance of new green infrastructure
projects, and can offer valuable career-development entry
points to people with barriers to employment.

Business Opportunity Program


The Districts Business Opportunity Program provides
procurement opportunities to minority-owned, womenowned, and small-business enterprises, thereby
contributing to the economic health and vitality of the
region. The program increases contracting opportunities
for our customers, resulting in greater job availability
and business growth for the local business community.

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Bringing new certified firms into the pool of companies


doing business with the District also enhances our
competitive-bidding process.

Watershed organizations
The Districts watershed partners play a valuable role in
helping to address flooding, erosion, and water-quality
concerns. On a local level, these organizations further our
efforts to protect and improve streams and water quality, and
promote education of the public on a wide range of issues.
District sponsorships help our partners cover administrative
and operating costs, allowing them to focus on projects and
assistance to local governments and residents.
Our partners have included Chagrin River Watershed Partners,
Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, Big Creek Connects, Friends
of Euclid Creek, Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Mill Creek Watershed
Partnership, Rocky River Watershed Council, Tinkers Creek
Watershed Partners, and West Creek Conservancy.
In addition, the Districts Green Infrastructure Grants support
the implementation of local small-scale projectssuch
as rain gardens, bioretention, and other methodsto help
remove stormwater flow from the combined sewer system.
The District also is exploring a Community Infrastructure
Grants Program for local infrastructure improvements, to
help address failing local sewers that contribute to sanitary
sewer overflows, basement flooding, and other public-health
and water-quality issues.

Careers In Utilities
A public-private workforce collaborative created by the District
in cooperation with Dominion and Lorain County Community
College, this unique initiative creates opportunities for employers,
educational institutions, and community and government
organizations to work collaboratively on regional talent attraction,
talent development, and talent retention. Job seekers benefit
from an online portal that helps them prepare for and access
careers in the utilities industry. www.careersinutilities.org

Engaging & educating


our community
Open House and other events
Our annual Open House (held in late summer or early fall)
is your opportunity to tour one of the Districts treatment
plants and enjoy demonstrations of different aspects of
our clean-water work. District staff explain the science
behind wastewater treatment, and we welcome partner
organizations, such as the Cleveland Division of Water and
Cleveland Metroparks, to participate in the event as well.

Good Neighbor Ambassadors


The goal of our Good Neighbor outreach program is to further
connect the District with the communities it serves. Our Good
Neighbor Ambassadors act as liaisons between the District,
various community and business organizations, and the general
public. The teams current focus is the Glenville neighborhood for
the duration of our Dugway Tunnel construction.

Our Ambassadors keep Glenville residents up to


date on what is happening in their neighborhood,
distributing informational materials, answering
questions, and addressing concerns about the
Districts construction projects.
They also perform clean-up and maintenance work near
District construction sites, and participate in educational

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and professional-development opportunities and


community engagement.
In addition, the program prepares our Ambassadors for
full-time employment. Each week, they receive careerdevelopment training on such topics as resume writing and
personal-finance skills.

School programming and Speakers Bureau


The District has a diverse group of professional engineers,
scientists, environmentalists, and technicians available to
speak about wastewater treatment and other clean-water
issues. Our educational topics include:

Aquatic life: what fish and bugs tell us about the water
The health of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie
The science and math of wastewater treatment
How pH testing helps determine water quality
Where does it go? (It being wastewater!)
A history of sewer systems
Chemical reactions: Lets make slime!
Careers at the Sewer District
Your watersheds changing landscape
Sewer School, a free daylong opportunity to learn about
sewers and wastewater treatment

Advocacy campaigns
Pick Up Poop (PUP)
When it rains, bacteria from doggie doo can soak into groundwater
or be carried by rainwater to storm sewers, which carry the flow to
nearby streams. Cleaning up after your dog is a simple step you can
take to help keep our watershed clean. Our Pick Up Poop (PUP)
campaign encourages pet owners to bag pet waste and properly
dispose of it in the trash. Our PUP campaign won a 2011 Public
Information & Education Award from the National Association of
Clean Water Agencies.
Pitch Those Pills!
This campaign encourages proper disposal of pharmaceuticals. Instead
of flushing pills and other drugs down the toilet, residents are urged to
keep these potentially harmful substances out of our waterways.
Thermometer exchange
Many common household items, including non-digital thermometers,
contain small amounts of mercury and can be dangerous if misused
or improperly discarded. The District offers a program for residents
to bring their mercury thermometers to our Environmental &
Maintenance Services Center (4747 East 49th Street in Cuyahoga
Heights) weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and in exchange receive
a free digital thermometer. (While supplies last. One per household.)
Restroom branding
Opportunities to further public stewardship of our waterways extends to
public restrooms, where our often eye-catching restroom decals remind
patrons not to flush inappropriate items. Recent placements have included
the Cleveland International Film Festival, Greater Cleveland Partnership,
and Progressive Field.

Contact info

Healthy Home Books

To request a speaker for your group,


organization, or school, contact Jennifer Elting
at 216.881.6600 or email speaker@neorsd.org.

Many hazardous household products can enter our waterways


through improper disposal or even normal use. The District
publication A Healthy Environment Starts at Home is a guide to proper
disposal of such products, and provides information on alternative
cleaning methods.

Cost-saving programs

Other award-winning materials


The Districts Communications & Community Relations department
produces educational materials for children and adults, explaining our
clean-water work. These publications include:

Clean Water Works, a technical magazine that gives our own subjectmatter experts the opportunity to explain in greater detail the
different aspects of our work. Recent issues have focused on Beach
Monitoring and Plant Operations.

To learn more about District sponsorships, school


programs, and advocacy campaigns, contact
Ebony Hood or Jessica Shutty at 216.881.6600.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District offers


several programs that may reduce your sewer bill:
Homestead: Available to persons 65+ or totally
disabled. Income criteria applies.
Wastewater Affordability: Eligibility criteria
based on income.

Watershed Workbooks help students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 10 gain a

Crisis Assistance: Change in marital status,


employment, or medical bills affecting your
ability to pay your sewer bill.

Where Does it Go?, our general-info newsprint, provides an overview

Summer Sprinkling: Bases your summer water


consumption on winter use, unless actual
summer consumption is lower.

broader awareness of the watersheds of Northeast Ohio, the urban


water cycle, and the Sewer Districts work.
of the Districts clean-water work.

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To see if you qualify for a reduced rate, contact


Customer Service at 216.881.8247.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District


3900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2506

Presorted Standard
U.S. Postage
PAID
Cleveland, OH
Permit # 3897

OUR Vision is to be the


environmental leader in enhancing
quality of life in the region and
protecting its water resources.
OUR MISSION is to provide
progressive sewage and stormwater
management through innovation,
fiscal responsibility, and community
partnerships.

neorsd.org | 216.881.6600