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Better Soil and Savings Among Highlights of Sewer District's Annual Clean Water Festival

photo of Kurtz Bros. landfill soil
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's partnership with Kurtz Bros. has repurposed the ash to be used in topsoil (right), which is richer in nutrients.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s annual open house over the weekend highlighted how the region’s water keeps improving.  And visitors also got to see how the district treats nearly two billion gallons of water each week.

The open houses started as small tours about a decade ago, but have morphed into the day-long Clean Water Festival complete with hands-on exhibits and presentations by some of the organizations that work with the sewer district.  Spokeswoman Jenn Elting says one of those groups is Kurtz Bros. landscaping.  The company – located around the corner – has been buying the residual bio-solids ash that results from the sewer district’s treatment of raw sewage.

“They are taking the ash, they are incorporating it with soils, and they are selling it as a new product that’s really rich in nutrients that are really great for your garden.  And it’s a really cool public-private partnership.  And we’re saving money because we don’t have to haul the ash out to landfill.”

Elting estimates the deal will save the district about $1.3 million over the next three years.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.