Lake Erie sewer water sidelines swimmers

Swimmers were sidelined Wednesday at Cleveland's Edgewater Park, after heavy rainfall caused raw sewage to be released into Lake Erie.

"I told them that they couldn't come today but they insisted so hey I brought them," explained Nadine Brown, who brought her grandchildren to the beach.

"When we got here a security guard and a lifeguard said that we couldn't get in the water because of like pollution or something like sewage," added Leon Simmons, who had hoped to swim in the lake with this children and nephew.

Although swimming advisories along Lake Erie following a heavy rain aren't unusual...what these advisories actually mean aren't necessarily common knowledge.

"They told us about that but I really don't know much about it," confessed Brown.

Essentially so much rain fell in short amount of time it overwhelmed the sewer system, meaning

extra water from places you wouldn't want to swim in, overflowed into the lake.

"What discharged into the environment was raw sewage so anything that goes down in your toilet in your bath tub," explained Jeannie Chapman with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

It's a problem the sewer district has been working to fix with new storage tunnels and infrastructure upgrades.

"When people look at their sewer bill and they're wondering what's my bill going towards…well it's to go toward infrastructure improvements so we don't have these advisories during the summer recreation months," she continued.

So how much progress has been made and how much more needs to be done?

Well Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the volume of their overflow by half, from 9 billion gallons to 4.5 billion gallons of combined sewer overflow to be exact.

The goal is to slash that number to only a fraction, 500 million gallons of combined sewage overflow, by 2035.

"We're spending three billion dollars over the next several decades to reduce that overflow amount by a large number," said Chapman. "Significant sewer infrastructure improvements have been done but there's still obviously a lot of work to be done."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment