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FirstEnergy announced plans to shut down its coal-fired Eastlake Power Plant in Lake County and Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland this September, nearly a year ahead of schedule. In Lorain County, NRG Energy revealed plans last year to convert its Avon Lake Generating Station from coal to natural gas.

The Avon Lake Municipal Utilities are preparing an agreement for supplying water to the City of Westlake. City leaders want to transfer away from the Cleveland Water Department.

LEEDCo received the first installment of a $4 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, and has one year to develop detailed plans for its Lake Erie wind farm in Cleveland. The project is in competition with six other projects for up to $46 million in federal funding. Fresh Water interviewed Dave Karpinski, LEEDCo's vice president of operations.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority completed construction of a 1.1-megawatt solar farm on a six-acre brownfield site adjacent to its Kinsman Avenue headquarters. CMHA officials said it will save the agency million of dollars over its expected 30-year lifespan, while providing it with educational opportunities. A Plain Dealer editorial called it the "sort of idea that could catch on."

In January, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will begin assessing fees for its stormwater management program. The average homeowner will pay about $60 per year. NEORSD provides details about the program and offers a fee finder. A group of 11 suburbs are continuing to challenge the program in court and expect that the case eventually will reach the Ohio Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, a federal judge is considering a revised plan for eliminating combined sewer overflows in Akron. The amended consent decree has been approved by the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that the judge "should be pleased enough with the advances to give his approval."

Update: Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells of NEORSD answered questions about the stormwater management program on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

Due to unresolved legal questions, Cuyahoga County postponed issuing a request for proposals for the planned wind farm in Lake Erie. The County intends to issue the request for geotechnical services next year.

via GLIN

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is building 4,200 solar panels on a six-acre site adjacent to its headquarters at Kinsman Avenue and East 82nd Street. The one-megawatt array is expected to cover 70% to 80% of the building's electricity needs.

Five northern Summit County communities are considering a settlement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District about the district's stormwater management program. The City of Hudson and Sagamore Hills Township approved the settlement, but it will not take effect until it's signed by the other three communities. Editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal urge the Summit County communities to approve the agreement and encourage a group of Cuyahoga County communities to drop their legal challenge.

An analysis of U.S. EPA data by the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked states by the amount of toxic emissions generated by their electric sectors. Ohio had the second-highest levels, trailing only Kentucky. All of the states bordering Ohio appeared in the list's top 10. The NRDC expects toxic emissions to decline dramatically because of new federal standards.

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas J. Pokorny issued his final opinion regarding the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program. At the judge's request, NEORSD made several changes to the program, including increasing the amount of funding returned to communities from 7.5% to 25%. While some communities continue to object, the Sewer District intends to begin implementing the program in January 2013.

The Cleveland Foundation announced $19.9 million in grants for a variety of programs, including funding for economic development activities, $150,000 for the intergenerational housing project in Fairfax, and $400,000 for a partnership that will work to leverage Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District investments to make neighborhood improvements. The Storm Water Management Partnership includes LAND Studio, Neighborhood Progress Inc., and the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Natural gas drilling continues to be a source of conflict and tension in places like Broadview Heights. Nearly 400 wells have been drilled in Cuyahoga County since Ohio eliminated local controls in 2004.

The City of Westlake is seeking a declaratory judgment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court about the City's contract with the Cleveland Division of Water. Westlake leaders remain interested in changing water suppliers.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission voted 6-2 to deny a $5 million grant to LEEDCo for its proposed Lake Erie pilot wind farm project. To reduce construction costs, LEEDCo is considering smaller turbines for the project.

Update: Ed FitzGerald and Ronn Richard urged the Third Frontier program to "reconsider funding the LEEDCo application."

The company that manages the electrical grid from Ohio to the East Coast determined that FirstEnergy's plans to shut down three area coal-fired power plants in September would create reliability problems and that the plants will remain open until April 2015. FirstEnergy's revised plans include the installation of combustion turbines at its Eastlake plant.

The wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was delivered and erected this month. The 265-foot turbine will begin generating electricity in a few weeks. At Cleveland's Progressive Field, workers installed a corkscrew-shaped turbine designed by a Cleveland State University professor.

Update: the turbine at the fairgrounds was officially dedicated, and WKSU reported on local wind energy initiatives.

A group of suburbs continues to oppose the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program. They are appealing a February Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruling that upheld the program.

FirstEnergy announced that it is reconsidering its plans to close its Eastlake power plant. The company is studying the possibility of replacing the plant's coal-fired turbines with combustion turbines that would be fueled by natural gas or oil. It would continue to operate as a peaking plant, providing up to 800 megawatts.

Upgrades to Euclid's sewer system will cost $136 million over a 10- to 15-year period. City Council is reviewing the project. Upgrades are also planned in Akron, and some residents said that the plans place too great a burden on ratepayers.

Update: Euclid City Council unanimously voted to submit project plans to the U.S. EPA for final approval.

In response to comments from the U.S. EPA, the City of Cleveland announced changes to its plans for a waste-to-energy facility at its planned Recycling & Energy Generation Center. The changes are intended to reduce its levels of toxic air emissions. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey collected related press releases and statements, and participants on the latest Civic Commons radio show revisited the topic.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Cleveland is wise to scale back its trash-to-gas plan."

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas Pokorny confirmed that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has the authority to implement a regional stormwater management program and that its associated fee is not unlawful tax. A group of suburbs had challenged the stormwater plans. The judge also determined that Hudson is a member, undoing a decision he made last year.

Update: officials in Summit County hope to reach a compromise.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin said that it may be "time to rein in expectations" for offshore wind turbines in Cleveland.

The City of Euclid will invest $104 million to $150 million in its sewer infrastructure over the next 10 to 15 years to address combined sewer overflows. Mayor Cervenik estimates that residents will see a $10 monthly increase, and the City will present the project at public meetings on February 25 and March 1.

In addition to objections from residents and environmentalists, some members of Cleveland City Council oppose the proposed Cleveland Recycling & Energy Generation Center and its waste-to-energy facility. Councilman Brian Cummins concluded that "the city needs to go back to the drawing board." Dan Moulthrop considered the issues in the context of sustainability.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Cleveland Division of Water and the cities of Macedonia and Westlake to resolve their differences without the cities changing water systems. The paper's Brent Larkin is highly critical of both Mayor Clough and the Division of Water.

Update: officials debated the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

The Plain Dealer summarized the debate about the future of Westlake's water supply. The City is contemplating a switch from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Macedonia is also considering plans to change water suppliers.

The U.S. EPA approved the City of Akron's revised combined sewer overflow control plan. The plan also needs the approval of the Ohio EPA and a federal judge. The Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing on February 29. The federal judge rejected an earlier version of the plan last year.

The Ohio EPA recently held a public hearing about the City of Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy facility for the Ridge Road Transfer Station. The City is promoting the plans as a way to generate electricity, create jobs, and reduce the City's carbon footprint, but many residents and environmentalists oppose its construction. To allow for more dialogue, the Ohio EPA extended its public comment period and the City will hold a community meeting on January 19. Councilman Brian Cummins posted a list of resources, while Marc Lefkowitz suggested some alternative ideas.

Update: about 100 people attended the community meeting, and the City of Cleveland scheduled three additional meetings. The Ohio EPA will accept public comments (PDF) through February 23.

Summit County Engineer Al Brubaker is seeking approval from Summit County Council to establish a countywide stormwater utility. Council members will discuss the proposal. Mayor Procop of Twinsburg opposes the proposed program.

Update: the Summit County Engineer's Office described the advantages of the proposed stormwater utility.

As Ohio shale drilling continues to generate headlines, participants on Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed fracking in Ohio. Recent events could lead to policy changes.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District submitted its green infrastructure plan to the U.S. EPA on Wednesday. It identifies 20 green infrastructure projects that the sewer district may fund over an eight-year period, as part of its combined sewer overflow control program. The agency will invest at least $42 million in the green infrastructure projects. Federal approval is required for the overall plan but not for individual projects.

Last week, the U.S. EPA issued the first national standards for mercury and other toxic air emissions from power plants. Under the new rules, which will become effective in 2014 and 2015, operators will have to install pollution controls or shut down older coal-fired power plants. The regulations could impact several local power plants, including FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland and Eastlake Power Plant in Lake County, and Genon's Avon Lake Generating Station in Lorain County.

An Ohio Citizen Action report urges FirstEnergy to permanently close its Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland. The plant is currently idle.

While Westlake City Council continues to discuss a proposed switch in water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities, the City of Cleveland issued a study that challenged the conclusions of a recent report prepared for the City of Westlake. The Cleveland report (PDF) said that Westlake should remain (PDF) with Cleveland Water. Mayor Clough said that the response would not deter him from pursuing the switch.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges Mayors Jackson and Clough to meet and "take another pragmatic look at options."

While the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program is in the midst of a lawsuit, the Summit County Engineer's Office proposed the creation of a countywide stormwater management utility. The proposal calls for establishing an impervious surface fee.

A new report from Environment Ohio ranked Ohio as having the second-highest level of airborne mercury pollution released by power plants, trailing only Texas. Using data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory, it said that power plants in Ohio emitted 4,218 pounds of mercury pollution in 2010.

Consultants for the City of Westlake recommend that the City should continue to pursue switching water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Avon Lake Patch offers more information.

Update 2: City Council authorized the mayor to begin negotiations with Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Chicago's WBEZ reported on the challenges facing the proposed offshore wind farm north of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

The lakefront Avon Lake Generating Station was one of the facilities on a recently-revealed U.S. EPA internal watch list. It said that operators failed to install modern pollution controls at the 41-year-old coal-fired power plant. Dennis Kucinich urged the Ohio EPA to require emissions reductions.

Update: the U.S. EPA filed an enforcement action against GenOn.

The trial on the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program began in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and is expected to take about three weeks. The sewer district wants to implement fees to support the program, and is opposed by a group of suburbs.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is finalizing its identification of green infrastructure projects that will be a part of the combined sewer overflow control program. The Green Infrastructure Feasibility Study will include 1,000 acres in 30 projects.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more information about the $42 million program.

A bill introduced by State Senator Kris Jordan would eliminate Ohio's renewable portfolio standard. It would strike a provision of a 2008 law that requires utilities to generate 25% of their power from renewable and advanced technology sources by 2025. Environmental groups oppose the legislation.

Update: local officials said that the bill imperils the planned Lake Erie wind farm, and Joe Koncelik said that it would be bad for Ohio. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that Senator Jordan "is thinking small about Ohio's future."

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District leaders and a group of suburban mayors were unable to reach an agreement about the fees associated with the District's stormwater management program. A trial will be held on October 31 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes, "If these cities win their lawsuit, it will mean a big loss for the region. Working with the sewer district is cheaper and smarter in the long run."

Frank Jackson advocated for the construction of the Lake Erie wind farm in a Plain Dealer op-ed, saying it represents "a vision of our regional economy as a national leader in renewable energy and a major economic growth sector."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz explored the current situation.

The City of Euclid reached an agreement with federal and state agencies to reduce combined sewer overflows from its municipal sewer system. The City will make at least $50 million in improvements over the next 15 years and will pay a $150,000 penalty.

Four smaller local sewer systems are developing plans to reduce combined sewer overflows. Systems operated by the cities of Avon Lake, Elyria, Euclid, and Lakewood currently discharge 274 million gallons of untreated wastewater per year. The work is addition to the plans of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the City of Akron.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the improvements are worth the expense.

A solar power demonstration project has been installed at Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse through a public-private collaboration. The solar concentrator array is expected to generate between 20,000 and 30,000 watts of power.

Using data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory, the Natural Resources Defense Council calculated the amount of toxic air pollution generated by power plants. The electric sector in Ohio emitted 44.5 million pounds of pollutants in 2009, more than any other state.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent approved the agreement between the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and federal agencies for addressing combined sewer overflows in the region. NEORSD now can implement the $3 billion consent decree.

NPR's All Things Considered reported on the plans to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The project north of Cleveland could be the first offshore wind farm in the nation. Developers now hope to have it in place by 2013.

Brook Park leaders decided to not pursue the proposed water main maintenance and no poaching agreement with the City of Cleveland. Brook Park's law director recommended against the pact, saying it could hurt the City's ability to attract companies.

Lincoln Electric erected a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine at its Euclid headquarters. Engineers are continuing to prepare the turbine, which is expected to be operating full-time in three or four weeks. Bill Callahan wonders how the company's neighbors will feel about the turbine.

On June 23, Olympic Steel plans to unveil a smaller wind turbine at its headquarters in Bedford Heights.

By a vote of 4-2, the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District approved a series of sewer rate increases over the next five years. Mayors Starr and DePiero dissented. The largest factor in the rate hike is the work to address combined sewer overflows identified in the consent decree with the U.S. EPA. Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to a discussion of the rate increases in Cleveland and Akron.

The Plain Dealer published more information about the City of Cleveland's plans for a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station and environmentalists' concerns about the concept.

Update: participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the proposal.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the concept is intriguing."

Cleveland State University Provost Geoffrey Mearns will mediate the dispute between the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and suburban mayors over fees associated with the District's stormwater management program.

The municipal Wi-Fi network for Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood went live on Friday. The $1.2 million Old Brooklyn Connected initiative will provide free wireless access for the next five years.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Councilman "Kelley and his allies deserve credit for bringing the project to this advanced stage. What remains to be seen is how it will play out and whether it will justify its projected cost".

Local environmental groups have questions about the City of Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station. They are concerned about its air quality implications and its potential to discourage waste reduction practices. The groups will host a community discussion (PDF) on May 10 at the Cleveland Environmental Center, where Neil Seldman of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance will make a presentation.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Pokorny ruled that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has the authority to implement its stormwater management program, but did not rule on a challenge by several suburban communities. The district filed for a declaratory judgment in January 2010. Judge Pokorny's decision (PDF) removes seven Summit County communities from the program. The Summit County Engineer's Office continues to develop its own stormwater management program.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourages communities to work cooperatively instead of through the courts.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the Euclid Creek Tunnel. Construction of the $197 million project, designed to reduce combined sewer overflows, is scheduled to begin this month and continue for four years.

In a meeting facilitated by Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald, local mayors met with NEORSD officials to discuss the agency's contentious stormwater management program. Both sides agreed to to participate in mediation.

Cleveland Public Power filed an application with the EPA for an air permit for the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Cleveland.

Controversies over natural gas drilling in Ohio could become more prominent this year, as energy companies show more interest in eastern Ohio's shale deposits and state leaders propose drilling in state parks. Ohio environmental groups have called for a moratorium on fracking until the extraction method's risks can be studied more thoroughly.

Update: Thursday's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to the subject.

U.S. District Judge John Adams rejected the proposed consent decree intended to address Akron's combined sewer overflow issues. A civil trial is now scheduled to begin in his court on May 31. Akron officials say they are "extremely disappointed" and that they will appeal the ruling.

In Greater Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will hold a series of public meetings about proposed rate increases that would fund work identified in its combined sewer overflow consent decree. The NEORSD Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the changes in June.

Update: Mayor Plusquellic of Akron held a news conference on Friday. The Akron Beacon Journal summarized his remarks.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the judge should have allowed the City of Akron and the U.S. EPA more time to revise the agreement.

This spring, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will begin construction of the Euclid Creek Tunnel, a 18,000-foot-long, 24-foot-diameter sewer tunnel that will be up to 220 feet under Lake Erie. The work is part of the district's Project Clean Lake program.

The Ohio Water Development Authority and the Ohio Department of Development are launching two loan programs, the Brownfield Loan Program and the Alternative Stormwater Infrastructure Loan Program.

Update: Joe Koncelik described the brownfield loan program.

Leaders in Brook Park are considering the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. Highland Heights City Council has also been pondering the proposal.

Update: Brook Park officials continue to discuss the proposal.

U.S. District Judge John Adams said he has "grave doubts" about the plans to reduce combined sewer overflows in Akron. He is concerned about the timing and lack of certainty, and could reject the proposed settlement between the City and the U.S. EPA. Members of Akron City Council are also unhappy about the consent decree, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial characterized their reactions as "predictable sticker shock."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that Judge Adams should allow the agreement to stand.

Northeast Ohio communities may soon see a dramatic rise in the number of new natural gas wells. Portage County saw 101 natural gas leases filed in the first half of 2010, and 1,125 have been filed thus far in the second half of the year. Stark County saw 160 in the first half and 836 to date in the second.

Local wind turbine initiatives have been highlighted in the media:

Summit County Council approved funding for a study of a proposed countywide stormwater management program. The program could be funded by a property tax levy. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the proposal reflects a lack of regional coordination.

Update: Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker responded to the newspaper.

By a vote of 5-2, the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District approved an agreement with the U.S. EPA that lays out a 25-year plan for addressing combined sewer overflows. The board may vote in January on rate increases to fund the $3 billion program. Other cities across the country have reached similar deals with the EPA.

Update: David Beach posted his comments.

The board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether to accept an agreement with the U.S. EPA. The agreement covers plans to reduce combined sewer overflows over the next 25 years. Proposed rate increases will not be a part of the vote. A Plain Dealer editorial encourages the board to ratify the agreement, using Akron's experience as an example of the alternative.

Update: the Plain Dealer described its projected impacts on sewer rates.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is installing three waste-to-energy incinerators at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. They are expected to go online in 2013.

Update: a waste-to-energy forum will be held on December 1 in Akron. Registration is free.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District shared details about its proposed agreement with the U.S. EPA. The documents describe plans to spend $3 billion over 25 years to address combined sewer overflow problems and specify the speed at which sewer rates would rise. Some Clevelanders oppose the agreement. The plans will be presented to the agency's board on November 18, and the board is expected to vote on the plan on December 2.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is holding a series of public meetings to explain its plans to address combined sewer overflow problems and the associated rate increases. The first meeting was held on Thursday in South Euclid, and NEORSD tweeted updates from the event. The program, dubbed Project Clean Lake, is facing opposition from Summit County officials. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "regional approach makes the most sense."

Participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the plans and the costs for addressing combined sewer overflows, both in Greater Cleveland and Akron.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District officials say they are close to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to address combined sewer overflow problems. Sewer rates would increase substantially, beginning in 2012. The final settlement could be announced by November.

The 12 Cuyahoga County suburbs that are challenging NEORSD's stormwater management program jointly issued a statement. It characterizes the program as an "involuntary tax disguised as a fee."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the cities' decision to fight the program.

Akron officials expect that federally mandated sewer improvements will cost $650 million over the next 18 years, up from earlier estimates of $500 million. Residents already face a series of rate increases. The City will hold a public hearing on Wednesday evening in the Morley Health Center auditorium.

Update: AkronNewsNow summarized the meeting.

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation selected a team of three companies to develop the pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, Cavallo Energy of Houston, and Great Lakes Wind Energy of Youngstown will build and own the five wind turbines in Lake Erie. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2012.

The Ohio EPA approved a permit for mercury discharges from FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Plant in Cleveland. The permit allows the plant to continue discharging mercury-tainted wastewater into Lake Erie. The EPA did not require the company to install equipment and instead ordered it to develop a pollutant minimization plan.

"Why does the Northeast Ohio region's new stormwater management program have a dozen suburbs fit to be tied?" asks Marc Lefkowitz.

A new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force quantified the health problems (PDF) caused by fine particle pollution from the nation's coal-burning power plants. It ranked Ohio as having the second-highest number of adverse health impacts, trailing only Pennsylvania. For metropolitan areas, the Cleveland MSA ranked eighth-highest. Power companies and the coal industry dispute the group's findings.

Update: the Statehouse News Bureau's Jo Ingles spoke with Nolan Moser of the Ohio Environmental Council about the study.

Because of the unresolved legal challenge, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District indefinitely delayed implementing its stormwater management program and impervious surface fee. The sewer district's board approved the program in January. It was initially scheduled to begin in July, and was later postponed until October. Sewer district officials hope to start the program later this year.

Cleveland's OneCommunity received a $44.8 million federal stimulus grant to expand its fiber optic network in 27 Northeast Ohio counties. The award will fund 64% of a nearly $70 million project that will add about 1,000 miles of new cable, including 111 miles in Cuyahoga County.

Citing reduced demand and proposed federal regulations, FirstEnergy announced plans to reduce operations at four of its smaller coal-fired power plants in Ohio. The changes include plans (PDF) to temporarily idle the Lake Shore Plant in Cleveland and to operate the Eastlake Plant only during the summer and winter.

Turning the Tide (PDF), a new report from the Healing Our Waters Campaign, says that between January 2009 and January 2010, combined sewer overflows in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary, and Milwaukee discharged 41 billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the Great Lakes. The report recommends upgrading sewer systems and increasing implementation of green infrastructure techniques, and calls on Congress to fund the improvements.

The nonprofit utility that provides power to institutions in University Circle is seeking a permit renewal for its coal-fired power plant. Members of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups oppose the permit, and stated their opinions at a public meeting (PDF) yesterday. The company intends to complete a plan by the end of 2011 for how it will become a coal-free operation. The Ohio EPA posted the draft permit (PDF).

Update: a final decision could take several months.

A group of Summit County elected officials is urging property owners to refuse to pay the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's planned impervious surface fee. NEORSD Executive Director Julius Ciaccia defended the stormwater management program (PDF) and said that the officials were acting irresponsibly.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the issues. The Akron Beacon Journal also published an editorial on the subject.

Update 2: A Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the Summit County officials.

Cleveland hosted a national conference on freshwater wind power earlier this week. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. also held its first public meeting, and said that they hope to announce a developer for the Cleveland pilot project within four weeks.

The conversation on today's Sound of Ideas program was about the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm and for encouraging the local wind turbine industry. The guests were Lorry Wagner of LEEDCo, Rebecca Bagley of NorTech, and George Sterzinger of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, who recently wrote an op-ed in which he described how the federal government could support the initiative.

Today's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to a discussion of natural gas drilling and the risks it entails.

More Greater Cleveland residents and businesses are installing rain barrels and rain gardens, for environmental reasons and to qualify for a reduction in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's impervious surface fee. The City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability will launch its annual summer rain barrel program on June 21.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District postponed implementation of its new stormwater management program until at least October. The district had intended to impose an impervious surface fee in July, but agreed to the delay because of an ongoing legal challenge.

Update: the Plain Dealer supplied additional information.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation will work with General Electric to build five wind turbines in Lake Erie, about six miles north of downtown Cleveland. The $100 million pilot project would be the first first freshwater wind farm in the U.S. and would have a generating capacity of 20 megawatts. LEEDCo plans to have the turbines, the largest in nation, generating power by the end of 2012. By 2020, they hope to have hundreds in place, generating 1,000 megawatts of power.

The Berea Planning Commission approved plans for a 275-foot wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County fairgrounds. The City's Heritage Architectural Review Board also recently approved the plans. City Council approval is not needed in this instance.

Cleveland City Council voted to proceed with a plan to provide free wireless Internet access for the Old Brooklyn area. The City anticipates spending $900,000 over the next three years to build and maintain the network.

After being rejected by the City of Middleburg Heights, Cuyahoga County officials have proposed moving their $2 million wind turbine project to the Berea side of the county fairgrounds.

Update: Berea's Heritage Architectural Review Board discussed the proposal.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is gathering feedback from local communities on the draft guidelines for its stormwater management program.

Update: NEORSD posted the draft stormwater fee credit policy manual.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers interested in constructing an offshore pilot wind farm near downtown Cleveland. LEEDCo hopes to select a company in May and have the wind turbines operating by late 2012. Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland are backing federal and state legislation that would support research and create tax incentives for wind power.

Last week, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill that will revise the state's oil and gas drilling laws. Citizen activists were unsatisfied by the lack of consumer protections in the law, which did not return local control over drilling. The legislature also approved a bill that will allow more than 30 counties to establish land banks like the one in Cuyahoga County. Governor Strickland is expected to sign both bills.

Update: a Chagrin Solon Sun editorial says that the changes in the drilling law "don't go far enough in protecting residents from potential disasters."

Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program was devoted to a discussion of stormwater and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's contentious stormwater management program. At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz says that "we should give the new stormwater program a chance."

By a vote of 5-1, Middleburg Heights City Council rejected a proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

A group of commercial property owners and developers may challenge the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's authority to implement its new impervious surface fee. When the NEORSD board voted to adopt the stormwater management program, they also asked the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to issue a declaratory judgment. The group represented by attorney Sheldon Berns may attempt to intervene. The Sewer District has also increased its advertising budget in recent years.

Update: the group of 21 parties filed a motion in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Judge McMonagle will decide whether they can participate in the case.

Because Summit County leaders have filed legal challenges to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's new stormwater management program, the Sewer District may withdraw its sponsorship of conservation projects in northern Summit County.

Update: the Hudson Hub Times has more details.

Update 2: the Sewer District will not pull its support for the projects.

The Middleburg Heights Planning Commission approved plans to install a 285-foot tall wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The Planning Commission had tabled the proposal in January.

Some environmentalists worry that the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Cleveland will not be as environmentally friendly as its proponents claim.

The City of Cleveland hired Princeton Environmental Group to design a 20-megawatt waste-to-energy power plant for the Ridge Road Transfer Station. The small company will relocate to Cleveland and begin work. The plant would be the first in the nation to employ the gasification technology.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls the project "a practical example of sustainability".

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force will count migrating birds and bats around the area of the planned offshore wind farm pilot project north of downtown Cleveland. The group also wants to establish a partnership with a turbine manufacturer.

North Olmsted City Council is considering ordinances that would amend the City's zoning code to allow businesses and homeowners to install wind turbines and solar panels.

Area communities reacted differently to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's new stormwater management program. Mayor Cicero of Lyndhurst was disappointed, and the City of Hudson may join Summit County's lawsuit against the sewer district. Mayor Elliott of Brook Park, on the other hand, thinks the program will help the city alleviate and prevent flooding problems. David Beach called it "one of the most important developments for local water quality that I have seen in the past 25 years."

On Thursday, the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District unanimously approved the new stormwater management program. The district has identified more than $220 million of critical stormwater projects, which will be financed by the new impervious surface fee. Once the board adopted the plan, NEORSD asked the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to confirm the district's authority to implement the plan.

With the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District expected to vote on the proposed stormwater management program on Thursday, the Summit County prosecutor asked a court to issue a permanent injunction against any fees. Leaders in outer-ring Cuyahoga County suburbs also dislike the proposal. NEORSD Executive Director Julius Ciaccia discussed the approach on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and WKSU have more details. Joe Koncelik considered the implications of the proposed regulations.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's board is expected to vote on the proposed stormwater management program on January 7. If the board approves the proposal, collection of a new impervious surface fee would begin in July. The district is also preparing for legal challenges of its authority to implement the fee. A Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a fair plan that the sewer district board should approve in January."

Update: the Bath Township Trustees oppose the initiative.

Akron City Council approved a series of sewer rate increases to pay for improvements identified in the settlement with the U.S. EPA. The first increase will be a 25% hike in 2010. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that while the higher rates will be painful, the work they fund will benefit the City.

The City of Cleveland is seeking proposals from companies interested in building a municipal Wi-Fi network for the Old Brooklyn area. The pilot project would cover 4½ square miles, and if successful, would eventually be expanded to other parts of Cleveland.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "an experiment that warrants both encouragement and scrutiny in the new year."

The City of Lakewood may establish a special improvement district for solar energy.

The Akron Beacon Journal has more details about the dispute in Summit County about NEORSD's proposed stormwater management program. In neighboring Portage County, Aurora leaders are considering a stormwater fee.

A bill under consideration in the Ohio Senate would revise Ohio's oil and gas drilling laws. It would change the minimum setback from 100 to 150 feet, but does not include enough changes to satisfy Northeast Ohio legislators and residents. They hope to include stronger protections in an Ohio House bill.

Update: this week's issue of Scene has more details. It was also the subject of a discussion on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

Leaders in Summit County are banding together to oppose the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed stormwater management program. County officials may file a lawsuit against the sewer district.

The efforts of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force to build offshore wind turbines expanded beyond Cuyahoga County, as Lorain County joined the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo).

On Monday, Governor Strickland announced that 25 Ohio energy projects will receive more than $13 million in federal stimulus grants. Seven of the wind and solar projects are in Cuyahoga County.

Update: Middleburg Heights leaders continue to discuss the proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

More than 100 people attended the last of five public meetings about the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program. Some residents objected to the new stormwater fee it would entail.

Update: leaders in Summit County remain opposed to the program.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Ohio Attorney General, and Akron City Council approved the settlement of the lawsuit over the City's combined sewer overflows. It is subject to a 60-day public comment period and approval by a federal judge. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial assessed the repercussions of the agreement.

The new wind turbine at Pearl Road Auto Parts in Cleveland began producing electricity on Friday. It was erected in September. Owner Jon Kaplan also started PearlWind, a turbine purchasing and installation company.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will hold five public meetings this month (PDF) about the proposed regional stormwater district. The first meeting will be in Mayfield Heights at the DeJohn Community Center on November 9.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District leaders are negotiating with state and federal officials about the district's plans to eliminate combined sewer overflows. NEORSD officials want 30 years to resolve the problems, but the U.S. EPA is insisting on a 20-year timetable.

The City of Solon is conducting tests of its stormwater infrastructure in residential areas. Officials expect that implementing the City's stormwater management plan will take a minimum of 10 years.

A Cleveland Public Power delegation is visiting Japan and China to investigate solid waste to energy conversion facilities. It is part of their efforts to establish a waste-to-energy plant at the Ridge Road Transfer Station.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is cautiously optimistic about the concept.

Cuyahoga County will begin soliciting bids for the construction of a wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The City of Middleburg Heights approved its construction last year.

Great Lakes Echo reports that funding from the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will not be available to address combined sewer overflows or for other sewer system upgrades.

In a 4-3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned two lower courts, ruling that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has exclusive jurisdiction in the state on tree removal matters in utility easements and that the lower courts lacked the jurisdiction to decide the case. A Brooklyn couple had contested FirstEnergy's right to cut down a tree on their property.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force released the final Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Feasibility Study (PDF, 14.2 MB) on Friday. The report prepared by juwi GmbH of Germany recommends building three to eight wind turbines in Lake Erie about three miles from shore. The demonstration wind farm would cost between $78 million and $93 million. NewEnergyNews describes the report as "a tour de force of the technical, environmental, regulatory and financial issues pertaining to offshore wind development."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the "mix of 'green' industrial innovation with a broad public-private research partnership should set Cleveland apart and make the city a go-to destination for wind-energy manufacturers and innovators." Bill Callahan is decidedly less enthusiastic.

The Ohio EPA yesterday announced plans to invest $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds and low-interest state loans in water and sewer infrastructure projects. Approximately $46 million will go to projects in Northeast Ohio, including $5 million for two NEORSD sewer projects. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled plans for $750 million in stimulus funds, of which the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will receive about $7.8 million. The award will fund five projects in the Park. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the dollars (PDF) will help address the Park's maintenance backlog. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will reallocate $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds it recently assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland to 52 other projects across the state. ODOT officials say that the funding will be replaced with other state and federal dollars.

Senators Voinovich and Brown introduced the Clean Water Affordability Act of 2009, which would establish new rules and supply funding for addressing combined sewer overflows. They introduced a similar bill last year, but it was not enacted.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and News-Herald have more information.

Cleveland City Council is reviewing legislation intended to address aesthetic and safety concerns of wind turbine installation. The rules are meant to regulate their construction in the City's neighborhoods, not the proposed offshore wind farm. Steven Litt believes that there is a need to institute design standards in order to take full advantage of anticipated investments in wind energy.

North Royalton City Council has begun discussing whether to allow the construction of wind turbines. Hudson City Council decided to forbid wind turbines, but will review requests to install solar panels on a case-by-case basis.

In the second event in the City Club's "Water–Our Region's Biggest Asset" series, NEORSD Executive Director Julius Ciaccia and Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski spoke about the past, present, and future of the region's water infrastructure (MP3, 55.0 MB). The third and final installment of the series will be held on April 22.

Leaders in North Olmsted and Westlake are ready to enter the second phase of a study on creating a water district. The cties are contemplating a switch in water providers, from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Mayor Clough says the cost to buy water would be 75% less.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that attempting to obtain "federal money to get out from under the Cleveland water system smacks of a political ploy."

As of last Friday, Ohio officials had received nearly 7,500 proposals for federal stimulus funds, adding up to about $28 million in requests. The state expects to receive about $8 billion. By yesterday, the number of requests had topped 10,000. GreenCityBlueLake has suggestions for greening the stimulus investments. The list (XLS, 8.3 MB) is available at the state's stimulus website, and Cleveland.com also posted the database.

Solon leaders do not want the City to be part of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program, saying that the City is already working control flooding. Macedonia officials had expressed a similar sentiment, but now appear to be more open to participating in a regional effort.

CPC Director Paul Alsenas and Frank Greenland of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District were the guests on yesterday's Sound of Ideas show, where they discussed the District's proposed stormwater management plan.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board did not vote on the proposal to take responsibility for managing stormwater at a regional level. District staff will continue to promote the concept in the 61-community service area, and the board may pass the proposal in late summer or early fall. A Plain Dealer editorial agrees with their conclusion.

On Thursday (PDF), the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will discuss the regional stormwater management role proposed for the agency. The increase in responsibilities would be accompanied by new fees, which have been controversial, especially in light of the continued increases in sewer rates.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake answers questions about regional stormwater management.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is promoting a list of regional infrastructure projects for federal stimulus funding.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District may spend an extra $5 million to complete a sewer project in the Flats east bank. The District's board of trustees postponed a decision on the proposal.

Eleven landfills in Ohio, including one in Solon, are participating in the U.S. EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, and more will be added soon. The program promotes the use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source.

The City of Solon is developing a long-term stormwater management plan that will replace a plan written by consultants last year.

Officials from northern Summit County formed a working group to discuss whether they will oppose the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's plans for a regional stormwater management program.

A wastewater treatment plant in Akron turns sewage into electricity through a process where anaerobic bacteria convert biosolids into methane. The system is the first of its kind in the nation and has exceeded expectations for electricity production.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's plans for a regional stormwater management program are controversial in northern Summit County. Some leaders worry that money from their communities will be directed to projects in Cuyahoga County.

The Olmsted Township Trustees refused to rezone a property on Stearns Road for a proposed apartment complex, because a project that would provide sewers for the property has not been completed.

The News-Herald looked at the conflicts and the problems resulting from a 2004 Ohio law that removed local oversight of natural gas and oil wells. Some are opposed to the increase in drilling and hope to revise the law.

A proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was unanimously approved by the Middleburg Heights Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission, and now awaits approval from City Council.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is planning to hold a series of community meetings at which it will present its plans for a regional stormwater management program.

Several cities and villages in northern Summit County have rejected the City of Cleveland's water main maintenance and no poaching proposal.

Macedonia officials are not interested in participating in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program.

Mayfield Village officials are among those frustrated by the lack of local oversight of natural gas and oil wells.

In anticipation of their construction, the City of Lakewood enacted new zoning rules regulating wind turbines. The Cuyahoga County Fair Board is also exploring the possibility of erecting a turbine on the Middleburg Heights portion of the fairgrounds.

Local government agencies are collaborating to address the slope instability problems along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend in Cleveland.

While natural gas and oil wells can be lucrative, their drawbacks have led several suburbs to reconsider plans to drill on public lands.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District may replace the incinerators at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. Burning biosolids in the new incinerators would generate enough electricity to make the incineration a carbon neutral operation. A blue ribbon panel will present an official report later this month.

A two day Sustainable Stormwater Management Workshop will take place at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on September 4 and 5. It will be led by Joachim T. Tourbier of the Dresden University of Technology. Enrollment (PDF) in the workshop is limited to 18 participants.

Consultants for Cleveland Public Power are conducting a feasibility study on the potential for establishing a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station.

North Royalton City Council is resuming its exploration of Low Impact Design stormwater management techniques. Council President Vincent Gentile plans to form a Low Impact Design subcommittee that will make a recommendation to Council late next year.

Valley View officials are confident that stormwater controls at the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center under construction in neighboring Garfield Heights will prevent additional flooding in Valley View.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District assembled a 20 member Stormwater Advisory Committee to help the District make key decisions in the development of a regional stormwater management program.

The Free Times examines the potential for the blockage of the Cuyahoga River Federal Navigation Channel and critiques local and federal efforts to address slope subsidence and bulkhead failure issues that threaten the shoreline.

North Royalton leaders recently passed a measure requiring increased notification when an oil or gas well is drilled. At least one company intends to ignore the new rules, because they are unenforceable under state law.

Concerned by the continuing increase in the number of new natural gas and oil wells, the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association is examining what local communities can do to address noise and safety issues.

As part of its preparations for a regional stormwater management program, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is conducting an extensive study of the Cuyahoga River watershed.

North Royalton leaders met with Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer district officials to discuss the agency's plans for a regional stormwater management program.

On Thursday, OneCommunity announced the official launch of a wireless Internet cloud covering most of University Circle and parts of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. They also rolled out Linked Communities, a new web portal for the University Circle area.

The Plain Dealer explored the efforts of OneCommunity, the nonprofit organization working to connect public and nonprofit institutions in Northeast Ohio to an ultra-broadband network.

Frustrated by the lack of local governance over natural gas drilling, the recently-formed Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project is calling for the return of gas well regulatory authority to municipalities.

Moreland Hills City Council has begun discussing the water main maintenance and no poaching proposal offered by the City of Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Strickland administration "must commit the resources to back up its rhetoric about urban areas," and in a second editorial, says that Parma would be wise to enact a proposed assessment to maintain the City's infrastructure.

Since Ohio lawmakers removed local oversight of natural gas drilling in 2004, 240 permits have been issued for wells in Cuyahoga County. ODNR officials say that the house explosion in Bainbridge was "very rare" and "unlikely to happen again".

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued new rules for oil and natural gas drilling in all of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake counties and parts of Medina, Lorain, and Summit counties. The changes are in response to an explosion in Bainbridge Township last month caused by methane leaking into the water table.

Update: residents are upset by the state's response to the issue, while area officials are hope the new permit conditions will prevent future problems.

The Intelligent Community Forum named Northeast Ohio as one of the top seven intelligent communities of the year, an honor that Cleveland also received in 2006.

(via Bytes From Lev)

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and WCPN have more details.

Cleveland Public Power may hire consultants to study the feasibility of building a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station in Cleveland. They may seek grants to help pay for the study, which could cost as much as $250,000.

Mayor Brewer of East Cleveland says that his City's water main agreement with the City of Cleveland will lower residents' water bills by about a third.

Update: WKYC and WTAM have additional information.

Solon City Council may select one of the two competing proposals for major mixed-use developments on Monday. Residents appear to be split on the proposals. The Coral Co. offered to donate land for enlarging a detention basin near North Huntington Drive if the City selects its proposed Central Parc development. Residents of the Solon Park Apartments who would be displaced by the Stark development continue to try to save their homes.

The City of Solon has begun developing a long-term stormwater management plan. The City's director of public works says that the process is "going to take a long time."

As Solon's December 17 deadline approaches for selecting one of the two competing proposals for mixed-use developments, one council member feels that the process is moving too quickly. A traffic study showed that both plans will require significant road improvements (corrections), including a possible redesign of the Route 422 interchange (though it may not be necessary) and a potential widening of Aurora Road (though City officials say they have no plans to do so). Preliminary results of a stormwater analysis show that either development would require $5 million to $8.5 million in sanitary sewer improvements. Legislation was introduced in City Council to create a mixed-use zoning classification.

Peter Rubin revealed more details about his proposed Central Parc development, which could include a 22.8 acre property on Solon Road currently owned by University Hospitals. He also plans to buy and renovate Solar Shopping Center. Meanwhile, the Solon Board of Education is concerned that a TIF package for either development could harm the district's finances, and the City's finance director said that the income tax projections for both projects are overstated.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland will both benefit from the recent water main agreement.

Westlake City Council approved a contract for a study that will analyze the implications of switching water providers from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Leaders in Bay Village and North Olmsted are considering whether to join the study.

Leaders of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District continue to promote the idea of regionalizing stormwater management in Greater Cleveland. Municipalities are currently responsible for stormwater issues, and NEORSD asserts that a regional approach could help communities meet federal EPA requirements.

The unstable slopes of Irishtown Bend in Cleveland forced the closure of Riverbed Street in 2005 and threaten to collapse an aging 60 inch sewer pipe. Rick Switalski, manager of sewer design for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, says that "Failure is imminent, and we have to do something right away."

The Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland reached a deal on the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement proposed by Cleveland officials. The cities had been negotiating for over a year.

Now that Broadview Heights enacted fees to fund stormwater projects, City officials will begin to prioritize the projects.

Several municipalities in Cuyahoga County are attempting to address stormwater issues in different ways:

Meanwhile, grass-roots efforts are spurring different approaches as illustrated by South Euclid's and Broadview Heights' examination of "green infrastructure" methods such as rain barrels and Brecksville's construction of a stormwater facility.

The City of Aurora and Portage County reached a water distribution and no poaching agreement with the City of Cleveland.

(Update: WKSU and WCPN have more details.)

Hunting Valley adopted the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. The Village has no industrial land and only one commercial property.

Broadview Heights City Council's Stormwater Committee is preparing for a public hearing on proposed fees to fund stormwater projects. It will be held on August 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Broadview Heights City Hall.

NOACA posted video of the speakers at their 2007 Summit at YouTube. The speakers at the June event were Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, lobbyist Virginia Ainslie, NEORSD Executive Director Erwin Odeal, and ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen.

The Cities of Lakewood and Bedford reached water distribution agreements with the City of Cleveland. The agreements include the no poaching clause present in similar agreements. The Cities of Bedford Heights and Euclid also recently signed water main maintenance agreements with Cleveland.

WKSU examined the costs of replacing parts of Greater Cleveland's aging infrastructure, including the major expenses incurred by combined sewer replacements.

Broadview Heights City Council will not vote on the proposed stormwater funding fee until August 13 at the earliest.

The Stormwater Committee of Broadview Heights City Council recommended charging residents and businesses a monthly fee to fund stormwater projects. The full council is currently discussing the proposal.

Under a new agreement, the City of Cleveland Division of Water will supply water to the City of Aurora, beginning in about two years. Aurora currently gets its water from wells in Shalersville Township.

Brecksville City Council tabled the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland, until they can determine if the VA Center consolidation would be covered by the agreement.

Orange, Parma Heights, and University Heights are the only suburbs that have adopted the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland, though 17 other municipalities have passed or introduced authorizing legislation.

Shaker Heights City Council is discussing the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. Solon leaders are also examining the proposal, which one City Council member says is "a very onerous agreement."

In anticipation of the National Solar Energy Conference that will be held in Cleveland next month, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will install a small wind turbine at its Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant near Edgewater Park.

Westlake officials continue to study options for switching water providers. Mayor Clough says they are "looking for more detailed information on the costs associated with switching providers."

Lakewood City Council has begun to examine the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. Because Lakewood buys water in bulk from Cleveland, the maintenance agreement would not apply, and Cleveland agreed to an immediate rate decrease as an incentive.

Westlake officials are considering changing water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities. Mayor Clough said no switch would occur within the next 18 months to two years.

Broadview Heights City Council hired a company to design two stormwater projects and study another. The work should be completed by July 1, and City Council hopes to have a funding mechanism in place by then.

The Broadview Heights City Council Stormwater Committee met for the first time last week. They hope to craft a plan for funding stormwater improvements in the City that does not involve the previously rejected assessments.

Middleburg Heights officials are reviewing the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement presented by the City of Cleveland, but are apprehensive about adopting it.

By a vote of 4-5, Broadview Heights City Council rejected a proposal for assessing residents to fund stormwater projects. Some favor creating a stormwater utility, which they say would be fairer to residents and help pay for future projects.

(Update: the Sun Courier offers more information.)

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Trustee Gary Starr wants the district to control cost overruns on construction contracts. "I've become passionate about it because I believe we need to change the way we spend our money and we've had some contracts go way, way over."

The Cities of Brooklyn and Westlake are not expected to approve the water main maintenance and no poaching agreements offered by the City of Cleveland.

As part of their efforts to address stormwater issues, Broadview Heights City Council is discussing a proposal to evenly split the costs of storm sewer repairs with affected property owners.

Cleveland Public Utilities Director Julius Ciaccia will succeed the retiring Erwin Odeal as executive director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on November 1. Odeal has held the position for the last 24 years.

Plans to construct a cell tower in Acacia Memorial Park Cemetery in Mayfield Heights have been delayed. The Cemetery and T-Mobile will not seek approval for the proposal while Mayor Costabile continues discussions with them and neighbors opposed to the tower.

Rocky River City Council has begun discussing the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland.

After several delays, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District trustees voted to increase sewer rates by a vote of 5-1, effective March 1 (MP3).

Some Mayfield Heights residents are opposed to a plan to build a cell tower at Acacia Park Cemetery on SOM Center Road. The proposed 140 foot tall tower would be disguised as a flagpole.

Leaders in Olmsted Falls are apprehensive about adopting the City of Cleveland's water service/no poaching agreement, and are considering a switch to the Rural Lorain County Water Authority.

The first portion of this morning's installment of The Sound of Ideas on WCPN discussed the proposed Greater Cleveland sewer rate increases, with NEORSD Executive Director Erwin Odeal and EcoCity Cleveland Director David Beach.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board once again delayed voting on proposed rate increases. They postponed the vote until their February 1 meeting.

The board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is scheduled to hold a twice-delayed vote today on proposed rate increases. Over the next five years, the proposal calls for average increases of 59% for Cleveland residents and 47% for suburban residents.

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