Part of Cleveland's Project Clean Lake, a new tunnel will be active by 2019 to reduce raw discharge into Lake Erie.
A new tunnel on the east side of Cleveland to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) is expected to be active by the end of 2019, according to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD).
The tunnels intend to reduce the raw discharge that makes its way into Lake Erie.
This is part of Project Clean Lake, which was formed in 2011. The plan includes a total of 80 projects, 28 of which have been completed. Another 21 are in the process of completion. The project is expected to cost $3 billion over 25 years.
NEORSD reduced combined sewer overflows from 9 billion gal a year to 4.5 billion gal a year between 1972 and the late 2000s, according to News 5 Cleveland.
"Combined sewer overflows were built to solve problems, basement flooding or street flooding way long time ago,” said Frank Greenland, director of watershed programs at NEORSD. “But by solving those problems, we transferred problems to the receiving waters, and when you mix sewage and stormwater, you’re going to send a variety of pollutants to Lake Erie directly or to any of the streams.”
The storage tunnels are expected to reduce CSOs by approximately 1 billion gal per year, according to News 5 Cleveland. There are three others currently under construction.
“The district is going to make a significant investment to deal with a significant issue,” said Greenland. “But there are other remaining issues. Stormwater runoff from residential areas, farm areas, the road network, the natural background conditions of animals in the watershed creating E. coli issues are still there, still real, and the district needs to be proactive in its routine sampling and analysis of bacteria samples at the beaches during the recreation season.”
The goal of Project Clean Lake is to reduce combined sewer overflows entering waterways to 500 million gallons or fewer per year by the year 2036.