Increased cost for Akron’s sewer fix

November 2010, Vol. 65 No. 11

The city of Akron, OH, has been federally mandated to improve its sewer system to help curtail overflow over the next 18 years at a cost of $650 million. The city previously had estimated the work would cost more than $500 million.

The new figure is derived from $500 million for the sewer overflow work plus $150 million for other mandated sewer and storm-water improvements, inspections and maintenance work needed to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

The city intends to raise sewer rates on customers in Akron and surrounding communities.

Sewer improvements are planned for the Cuyahoga and Little Cuyahoga rivers and the Ohio & Erie Canal, which are fouled at 34 locations where combined sewer overflows (CSOs) dump raw sewage and storm water into streams after heavy rains.

The plan would reduce the volume of overflows from about 800 million gallons a year to about 400 million gallons — with 58 percent of the runoff being controlled with earlier improvements, the city said.

Projects included in the proposed plan include:
• 2 large diameter storage tunnels,
• 10 storage basins similar to the Cuyahoga Street Storage Facility constructed by the City in 2007,
• 5 sewer separation projects,
• Upgrades to the Water Pollution Control Station that will allow additional combined sewage to receive treatment prior to discharge to the Cuyahoga River,
• Improvements to the Mud Run Pump Station,
• Storm water system upgrades,
• Repair and replacement of existing collection system pipes as needed, and
• System upgrades and additional monitoring to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the state of Ohio.

The city's report is available at http://www.ci.akron.oh.us. Click on the ''Combined Sewer Overflow Info'' cube.