Flooded basements and submerged yards have long been issues in certain parts of North Olmsted, especially in the aftermath of heavy rainstorms like those on Labor Day.
Identifying these rain-related headaches as a central issue, the city has begun the process of easing the burden that excess water places on residential pipes and drains.
Though still in the early planning stages, the city aims to install an equalization tank — also known as an EQ tank — on 8 acres south of I-480 and west of Bellevue Drive that will be able to store stormwater that gets into the sanitary sewer system and would normally cause overflows.
“The EQ basin will be giant for the southwest side of North Olmsted, as well as stormwater detention projects we’re working on,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy said.
The project is estimated to cost $1.3 million and will come out of the city sewer fund, but first soil tests have to be conducted. The city is trying to acquire the 8 acres of vacant land for the EQ tank. Four acres are owned by North Olmsted City Schools, the other four by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Logistics have also been an issue.
“We still have to figure out how we’ll get heavy equipment into the area for the soil testing,” Kennedy said. “There’s a lot to figure out. But I’d like to thank the school district and ODOT for being great partners.”
The look of the EQ tank could take a couple of different forms, according to city engineer Pete DiFranco. One version could be a series of pipes, 6 to 7 feet in diameter. It could also take the shape of a football field-size tank, built with cement walls, 15 to 20 feet underground.
During heavy rainfall, water would fill in the tank and eventually flow toward the wastewater treatment plant once the storm ceases. In the past decade, similar projects were completed at Clague Park and the Dover pump station.
“Flooded basements are our top priority right now, so this would help out,” DiFranco said.
Along with aiding water flow through the sanitary system, the city is looking into adding stormwater detention basins at locations in its southern portion that would store excess rainfall. Once a storm dissipates, gravity would aid the water in flowing toward the Rocky River. The cost and timing of the project are unknown.
“The service department also has really ramped up their storm sewer inspections,” DiFranco said. “So, if the stormwater can get out faster, or get out to the streams or the Rocky River faster, then that also helps with basement flooding.”
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