Sewer Board unanimously approves stormwater program

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• Program to address critical flooding, erosion and water quality problems throughout Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH, Jan. 7, 2010 -- On Thursday, January 7, 2010, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Resolution No. 1-10, "Authorization to Implement a District Regional Stormwater Management Program Through Adoption of Title V of the Code of Regulations."

The Sewer District's Stormwater Management Program will address flooding, erosion and water quality problems throughout the defined service area. In addition, the Sewer District will assume responsibility for millions of dollars of necessary maintenance, much of which is currently the responsibility of local governments.

The Sewer Districts Board of Trustees voted as follows:

Mayor Thomas J. Longo voted to adopt Title V
Mr. Ronald D. Sulik voted to adopt Title V
Mr. Walter O'Malley voted to adopt Title V
Ms. Sheila Kelly voted to adopt Title V
Mr. Darnell Brown voted to adopt Title V
Mayor Gary W. Starr voted to adopt Title V
Mayor Dean DePiero voted to adopt Title V

"Stormwater knows no political boundaries," said Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director. "Stormwater needs to be managed regionally and I sincerely thank the Board for taking this progressive step in protecting our clean water environment."

The Sewer District has identified more than $220 million of critical construction projects, and detailed planning on some projects has already begun. Most of these stormwater-related projects will provide relief to multiple communities within each watershed. To pay for construction projects and maintenance, the program will cost the average homeowner $4.75 per month, or $57 per year; billing for this program will not begin until July 2010.

"In 1978, a Sewer District-sponsored study showed 138 regional drainage problems related to stormwater," said Frank Greenland, Director of Watershed Programs. "By 2004, that number had risen to 513. That's an increase of nearly 400%. It's now time for Northeast Ohio to address this worsening problem."

Problems that the Stormwater Management Program will address include:

• Horseshoe Lake Dam and Green Lake Dam are not compliant with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) dam safety requirements; Shaker Heights, Doan Brook Watershed.
• Flooding and streambank erosion along Indian Creek jeopardizes homes and infrastructure; Macedonia, Brandywine Creek Watershed.
• Streambank erosion along Mill Creek threatens Warner Road; Garfield Heights, Mill Creek Watershed.
• Flooding throughout Chevy Branch of Big Creek affect homes, streets and businesses; Parma and Cleveland, Big Creek Watershed.
• Streambank erosion along Chippewa Creek threatens nearby homes; Broadview Heights and Brecksville, Cuyahoga River Watershed.

Immediately following the meeting, the Sewer District filed a motion for declaratory judgment with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to reaffirm the District's authority to manage stormwater within the existing service area.

"We know we have the authority, we've had attorneys tell us we have the authority," said Ciaccia. "Now's the time for us to solidify that authority."

Additional information about the Stormwater Management Program: http://www.neorsd.org/stormwater.php

Title V of the Code of Regulations: http://www.neorsd.org/I_Library.php?a=download_file&LIBRARY_RECORD_ID=4274

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