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At the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's first board meeting of the year on January 15, 2004, Board members agreed that the District should continue the Regional Intercommunity Drainage Evaluation (RIDE) to study the legal, institutional and financial aspects associated with managing regional storm drainage problems.
As Board President Michael L. Nelson stated, "this is an important next step in the development of the District's future work as well as the fulfillment of the original court order. And frankly, I cannot think of any other organization more qualified to take on the challenge."
Along with the mandate that the District assume the operation and management of wastewater collection, treatment and disposal facilities serving the Cleveland area, the original court order also required that the District prepare a plan for more effective storm water drainage.
In response to this directive, the District completed the Regional Plan for Sewerage and Drainage (RPSD) study to better understand the storm drainage network and identify regional storm drainage problems in 1999. In the next phase, called RIDE, they began to seek potential solutions to these storm drainage problems.
The key results of RIDE were maps of the intercommunity storm drainage network and recommended solutions and costs for the identified problems. After all was said and done, the total estimated cost to address storm drainage issues was $342 million.
Although the District has already invested over $1.8 billion in environmental enhancements, the Board still thought the estimated cost to alleviate storm drainage problems was significant. "Considering the high price tag, it behooves the District to continue the RIDE effort and clarify issues related to the potential broadening of the District's current responsibilities in the area of storm drainage management," Nelson said.
To that end, the Board will hold a special session with appropriate District staff to examine the remaining key issues.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District operates three wastewater treatment plants and related water pollution control facilities on Lake Erie, the Cuyahoga River and Rocky River. The District serves 60 suburban communities and the City of Cleveland and employs approximately 550 people.