The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is set to break ground on the $135m Westerly Storage Tunnel (WST) on 18 May 2018 as part of the 25-year, $3bn Project Clean Lake programme to clean up water flowing into Lake Erie.
The WST is the fourth of seven tunnels to be constructed under the Project Clean Lake and the first tunnel on Cleveland’s west side.
The project will capture 300 million gallons of combined sewage annually, preventing it from entering the Cuyahoga river.
The two-mile tunnel will run beneath Tremont, Ohio City and Detroit-Shoreway neighbourhoods.
The Project Clean Lake is geared toward meeting Clean Water Act standards and addressing water-quality issues.
The WST system will help control overflows at two locations along the Cuyahoga river and reduces combined sewer overflow pollution to the environment by 328 million gallons per year, and also decrease flooding during rains.
It will contribute to Project Clean Lake’s overall goal of capturing 98% of all combined sewer flows for treatment.
The project includes the construction of a pump station near the Soap Box Derby track along the Shoreway.
Construction will begin in summer 2018 and the project will be completed in 2020.
The 25-year plan aims to reduce raw sewage discharges into the lake from 4.5 billion gallons a year to 494 million gallons.
Heavy discharges are a result of Cleveland’s earliest sewers combining sewage from homes, stormwater and industrial waste in the same pipe.
As the combined sewers cannot contain all the water during heavy storms, the combination is released into the environment.
To solve the problem, the sewer district is constructing huge underground tunnels and storage tanks, as well as green bioswales, to contain stormwater.
According to NEORSD, there could be some lane closures and traffic diversions, as well as construction traffic at the WST-1 and WST-3 sites during construction.
At the WST-2 site, in 2019 there could be an eastbound Shoreway lane closure and the off-ramp to West 45th Street could be closed for five months to facilitate the construction.