Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Columbus, Ohio's $2.5 billion plan to reduce overflows

Environment News Service: The Ohio EPA is seeking public comments on its draft approval of the city of Columbus' wet weather management plan. The sewer system in Ohio's capital city currently discharges some 1.65 billion gallons of sewer overflow in a typical year. Under the new plan, by the year 2025, these overflows will be reduced to a total of about 250 million gallons. "When the plan is implemented, there will be a dramatic decrease in sewer overflows and basement backups that occur in the city of Columbus service area after rains and snowmelt," the agency said Friday in a statement.

The plan addresses overflows from the separately sewered areas of the city as well as overflows from the combined sewer system. The total cost for the projects in the wet weathemanagement plan is $2.5 billion. Columbus submitted its wet weather management plan to Ohio EPA in 2005 in accordance with two separate consent orders issued by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in 2002 and 2004. The orders require Columbus to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to control overflows from the sewer system.

In its draft approval, the Ohio EPA gives the green light to the projects in the wet weather management plan and also to the schedule for implementing these projects...Once all projects are completed, it is estimated that remaining overflows from the system will be reduced to approximately 100 million gallons per year on average. This remaining overflow volume will not cause a violation of the water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life. This is primarily due to the relatively short duration of the discharge - approximately 15 hours total in an average year - and that the discharge will be to the Scioto River during high river flows, allowing significant dilution of the remaining overflow volume. Columbus has projected a cost of over $350 million to eliminate the remaining overflow….

Derek Jensen shot this view of Columbus, Ohio, and has released it into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Thank you, Derek

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