Our customers, our water, our systems all have needs. Our job: Meet all three.

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 a regional network of streams and culverts.

Clean water is essential — and cleaning it can be expensive. Providing proper treatment where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and how it’s needed is costly already — and risks have always threatened to keep costs rising and rates increasingly difficult to afford for many Americans, now more than ever before.

For nearly 50 years, we have wisely invested more than $5 billion in our region’s sewer infrastructure. Most of the dollars invested since 1990 have been solely those of ratepayers like you with little to no federal financial support. For comparison, federal grants in the 1970s accounted for nearly two-thirds of all water-system investments across the country. Today, federal funding is in the single digits and still falling.

A lack of federal support has not reduced the need for future investment to keep our water resources safe. Nor has it lessened the burden on customers already struggling to pay utility bills and cover their most common expenses.

Despite this, we have long advocated at the state and federal level to raise awareness of these environmental and economic realities our customers face every day, sharing the expertise and experience of our team to gain support for policies and programs that will make a difference.

We have made gains. But we can do more.

Most recently, we joined forces with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign to promote the need for a federal-state-local partnerships to keep rates affordable and water systems and resources protected for future generations.

Customers have made our work possible. Many of them struggle to pay their bills, and even with assistance programs in place to lower their bills in times of need, we know the burden is real. Which is why we will continue to support federal aid programs for low-income water and sewer assistance.

NEORSD sewer rates have risen nearly every year since 1990. We continue to plan, manage, and deliver projects that reduce the long-term impact of rate increases. We also know future savings might make today’s bills easier to understand, but not always easier to pay.

Water needs protection, and we are here to protect it. Systems need work, and we have always been up to the challenge. Customers need help, and while help is here, those needs are on the rise.

With federal support, our experience, and your trust, we will better address these needs together.