How federal support can help advance the affordable clean water cause at this critical time

Customers need help. Water needs protection. Systems need work and maintenance.

Whether you’re a utility or a resident paying their bills, these three realities are common ground. But how we address those needs comes down to decisions, debates, and ultimately dollars.

Which is why we have long advocated for federal dollars to be part of the solution. Today, we believe it is critical.

At the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, our mission meets those three critical local needs: serving customers by protecting their water resources through the sound management of the complex infrastructure of sewers and wastewater treatment plants, and…


All of us make decisions on how we pay for things. How utilities pay for very expensive construction makes a big difference.

Doan Valley Relief and Consolidation Sewer construction. NEORSD file photo.

How do we finance sewer and stormwater projects and utility operations? If you’re a customer, the answer is “your sewer bill.”

At least that’s where the funding comes from. But how do we use that revenue to cover the cost of critical sewer and stormwater services? Cash? Loans? The reality is it takes a little more exploration, and the answer has an effect on the bills customers pay.

It starts with a rate study, which the Sewer District does every five years. It’s just like setting your budget.

You predict what big expenses might be coming up, how you plan to pay off existing debt, and what your operating costs might be.

The Sewer District operates three large wastewater treatment…


No, it’s not an option. But if we explore how treatment processes affect the properties of water, then this is what would happen.

Aringo Photo under CC BY-SA 2.0 Creative Commons

America says swimming is its number-one Summer Olympic event. But let’s talk about number two.

We wondered, because no one else will, how an Olympic swimmer would fare in an environment more unusual than a 50-meter chlorinated pool.

Could a US Team swimmer successfully endure laps in these long bubbling channels known as aeration tanks? or perhaps the in-ground-pool-like tanks nearby?


Improvements completed as beach season, daily recreational water quality testing resumes

Recent sewer improvements aim to keep this combined sewer overflow flap gate at Edgewater Beach closed.

Today, in anticipation of beach season kicking off this weekend, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District announced recent sewer system improvements designed to reduce combined sewer overflows at Edgewater Beach.

“For nearly 50 years, the Sewer District has invested $5 billion in sewer and stormwater projects across the entire service area. Our early work included improving and building infrastructure,” said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, CEO of the Sewer District.

“As a result of recent work, upgrades to the Northwest Interceptor will likely reduce the volume and frequency of combined sewer overflows at the beach.”

By removing dam regulators, reducing pressure, and increasing…


We’ve always been environmentally minded. Our new sustainability plan is all about intentionality.

sprawling green marshy basin, partially filled with water and spotted with rocks and pink flowers in the foreground. homes are visible in the background. this greenspace sits in the community of East Cleveland, filtering stormwater naturally into the environment instead of contributing to combined sewers.
sprawling green marshy basin, partially filled with water and spotted with rocks and pink flowers in the foreground. homes are visible in the background. this greenspace sits in the community of East Cleveland, filtering stormwater naturally into the environment instead of contributing to combined sewers.
Bioretention basin on Scioto Avenue in East Cleveland, an example of sustainable green infrastructure. Photo by Anne Roberto @neorsd.

For an agency tasked with cleaning wastewater and managing stormwater for the almost 50 years, sustainability is not a new concept.

Strategic sustainability, however, is something to be excited about.

This month, the Sewer District launches its first-ever Sustainability Plan, a comprehensive framework for operations and decision-making that will allow us to continue providing critical services, protecting our environment, and preserving resources.

“We are an environmental organization and always have been,” said CEO Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells. “Sustainability has had a place in our strategic plans for a long time. But sustainability isn’t a goal of its own. …


How sound management, better borrowing made a big difference in rate plans for 2022–2026

Dugway Storage Tunnel file photo taken during construction in April 2017.

Infrastructure is expensive. That’s not an excuse. It’s a reality, one we manage every single day.

We owe it to customers to be responsible, resourceful, and respectful in our decisions to ensure we are spending smart. That’s an obligation and it should be your expectation.

As that critical need to maintain and improve our wastewater and stormwater systems remains a priority, we proposed an annual rate increase of 4.7 percent for the years 2022–2026 to our Board of Trustees at their April 7 meeting.

Since then, we further refined that proposal to a 4.2 …


How nature-based solutions help keep streams healthy and give sewers a longer life

Fleet Avenue green infrastructure basin collects stormwater runoff, allowing it to filter naturally into the environment instead of contributing to the combined sewer system.

In this #BehindTheBill series, we take a closer look at the work made possible by your monthly or quarterly NEORSD bill.

When it comes to managing stormwater, it’s better to work with nature than against it.

Constructed sewers are a big part of our work but lesser known are the nature-based solutions like green infrastructure and stream restoration that help slow the flow of water in both the environment and the sewer system. That means healthier streams and more sustainable sewer investments.

Consider stream problems like flooding, erosion, debris blockages and water quality. Issues like these are often caused by…


Neighborhoods are where sewers, streams, and the teams that protect them come together.

Two males stand in safety glasses and bright safety-yellow hard hats in front of a pump station electrical panel, smiling for the camera.
Two males stand in safety glasses and bright safety-yellow hard hats in front of a pump station electrical panel, smiling for the camera.

In this #BehindTheBill series, we take a closer look at the work made possible by your monthly or quarterly NEORSD bill.

Flashing amber lights on the shoulder of your morning commute catch your attention but rarely make a memory. A safety-green “Field staff” T-shirt-wearing public worker walks the stream in your neighborhood, clipboard in hand, but unless they approach your property, it’s often not worth a second thought.

The reality is that dozens of sewer and environmental maintenance workers are out and active across our 62 communities every day, managing systems for public health and public safety.

Sewer System Maintenance…


Tunnel construction comes with a huge price tag. But neglecting investment or mismanaging projects costs more.

Female construction supervisor in a face covering, safety vest, and hard hat. Arms folded, focused on a point beyond the camera as she overlooks a project site on a sunny fall day in Cleveland.
Female construction supervisor in a face covering, safety vest, and hard hat. Arms folded, focused on a point beyond the camera as she overlooks a project site on a sunny fall day in Cleveland.
Construction Supervisor Karrie Buxton looks over the Doan Valley Tunnel project site.

In this #BehindTheBill series, we take a closer look at the work made possible by your monthly or quarterly NEORSD bill.

Billions of dollars and billions of gallons of water are trusted to people like Karrie.

Karrie Buxton is a Construction Supervisor overseeing tunnel projects. Her primary work is to ensure the successful completion of Project Clean Lake’s huge tunnels, but she is just one of hundreds of employees working across the region to build and maintain systems that ensure Lake Erie is protected.

“When you’re 200 feet [underground], you still get a little excited,” Buxton said in a 2020…


How hundreds of tests a day ensure our water is treated right.

In this #BehindTheBill series, we take a closer look at the work made possible by your monthly or quarterly NEORSD bill.

In one year, more than 35,000 water samples work their way through our laboratory, and our lake is better because of it.

Only a small fraction of your sewer bill funds our Analytical Services department. But the work and efficiency of this team is critical to ensuring the water we treat is safe for the environment every day of the year.

From microscopes to mass spectrometers, the technology and technical expertise of our lab staff combine to test water…

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH

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