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Government & Politics

Akron's Billion-Dollar Sewer Project Could Be Mostly Complete By the End of 2019

photo of Tunnel Boring Machine Known As Rosie
Rosie, the drilling machine, finished the city's underground sewer tunnel in 2018. This year, much of the project will focus on connecting the tunnel to drains and sewers.

Akron’s billion-dollar sewer project reached a major milestone in 2018 and is slated for completion this year.

The underground tunnel that’s key to the sewer project was completed this past fall. Most of the work in 2019 will focus on connecting the tunnel to street-level drains and sewers. Pat Gsellman, manager for the project, says they’re on track to be about 85 percent finished by this fall. Many of the projects in the coming year will focus on separating the sewers.

“Part of our system is this combined sewer system where we’ve got one pipe that carries both the stormwater flow and the sanitary sewer flow. So when you get a heavy rain, that sewer will have an overflow.”

Gsellman says the city is on-track to meet the 2027 deadline to complete all of the work mandated by a consent decree between Akron and the U.S. EPA. The sewer department will be holding an open house for the project in June.