After 11 years, a city stormwater project designed to prevent future contamination of Lake Erie’s waters may finally be launched.

City Council voted unanimously to begin a five-year project to study and close two sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) on Lake Road and Glen Park Drive during its meeting on June 22. The goal is to reduce the amount of bacteria and pollution being dumped into the lake, said Service Director Jon Liskovec.

“We want to make sure we’re doing our part to protect the lake,” he said.

The study, being conducted by Chagrin Valley Engineering, will look at how closing sewer overflows affect the rest of the city’s sewage and stormwater systems. Once the study is completed, the city has 240 days to create and present a new plan and cost analysis to close the overflows, Liskovec said.

Sanitary sewer overflows collect and transport rainwater and commercial, domestic and industrial wastewater for treatment, occasionally dumping raw sewage called overflows. This can contaminate waters, causing serious water quality problems. It can back up into homes, causing property damage and threatening public health, according to information provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2009, the EPA mandated Bay Village needed to close its four SSOs because of the negative effects on Lake Erie, Liskovec said. Implementing the order will make the city compliant with the Clean Water Act of 1972, created as a result of heavy industry and pollution along the Cuyahoga River.

Between 2009 and 2014, the city spent $2 million closing the four SSOs on Cahoon and Lake roads and Glen Park Drive. However, attempts to close the overflow systems on Lake Road and Glen Park Drive were unsuccessful due to overflow miscalculations and have remained open. Last year, the U.S. EPA requested that the city complete the project, Liskovec said.

Bay Village has two separate sewer systems. The sanitary sewer system carries wastewater from homes, commercial buildings and industry to the Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The stormwater system carries rainfall and runoff from parking lots, roads and private properties directly into creeks and ditches. SSOs were implemented to manage flooding in the community from heavy storms.

City officials believe that the project will allow Bay Village to better improve how they treat the environment

“This will help reduce how much waste we contribute to the Rocky River Water Treatment Plant and help ensure a cleaner Lake Erie for the community,” Mayor Paul Koomar said

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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