Downtown Cleveland is going through a renaissance.  With a new Convention Center, Center for Health Innovation, a new casino and the related hotels and apartment conversions, a project was needed to tie all of these other projects together.  This linchpin project is the renovation of Public Square. A number of public and private entities came together to support the renovation of Public Square.  One of those entities is the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District or “NEORSD.”

For our October 15, 2015 meeting, NEOCHMM welcomed Dave Ritter, CPESC.   Dave works for the NEORSD and told us about NEORSD’s participation in the project, not only from a technical, but educational perspective.

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One of the first things to be completed in the renovation effort was a detailed hydrogeological study. In spite of significant development over years, the study found that the native soils in the area were capable of absorbing significant amounts of rain water. The next study that had to be completed was a location of a myriad of underground utilities, including stormwater discharges, which can often be combined with sanitary sewer discharges.  The next effort was to install, essentially, what would be a stormwater cistern, consisting of a large underground tank and conveyance channel.  This would allow much of the stormwater runoff to be stored and reused for irrigation, on site; rather than discharging to already overburdened sewers in the area.   Then green space and trees would be installed in much of the Square, allowing for infiltration of stormwater.  Finally, a fair amount of walkways and pavement would be reinstalled on the Square, some being porous and allowing the pass through of stormwater.  Still other areas, along the edges of pavement would have “engineered soil” installed along with trees and other greenery.   These engineered soils could support the pavement, allow for growth of greenery and accept sheet wash or runoff from expansive paved areas.   The soils would then allow water to pass thorough and then on to the cistern for reuse.

Since improved stormwater management techniques are still in their infancy, NEORSD has retained “sponsor rights” for the next 5 years and will Public Square to demonstrate the efficacy of those techniques to the public.  Incumbent on the Association maintaining the Square will be the special maintenance requirements for the reuse of stormwater.

NEOCHMM thanks Dave Ritter and NEORSD for an interesting and informative presentation.