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Environment


Feds reach another deal to keep sewage out of Lake Erie
Northeast Ohio will be paying a lot more tthis century for a problem caused by sewer systems designed early last century
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Sewage overflows close Lake Erie beaches after storms
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In The Region:
Euclid is the latest Northeast Ohio community to agree to tens of millions of dollars in upgrades to cut the billions of gallons of raw sewage flowing into Lake Erie. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that it’s a problem and an expense shared by older communities throughout the Midwest.
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The deal just announced by Euclid and the federal and state EPAs commits Euclid to some $60 million to $100 million  worth of upgrades to its sewer system over the next 10 to 15 years.
Euclid Law Director Chris Frey says the idea is to keep massive amounts of storm water from overwhelming the system and flushing raw sewage into streams and lakes. The problem stems from the way the sewers were designed and built some 80 years ago.
“If there was a heavy storm and not wanting to flood basements, that flow would surcharge into the sanitary system so that it could get out to the Lake,” Frey explains. “The problem with it is that today, it’s been determined that that no longer is a satisfactory system to handle that combined flow.”

Euclid will expand its wastewater treatment plant and upgrade maintenance. It’s also paying a 150-thousand dollar fine.  Frey estimates that upgrading and maintaining the system will increase sewer bills by about 30 percent initially, and will affect customers in a half dozen communities.
The sewer district that covers most of Cuyahoga County reached a similar settlement. So did Akron, though its upgrade is on hold because a federal judge balked at  the deal. 
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