By Charles E. Herdendorf
The Village Pioneer, 12-09, Volume 4 Number 4, page 8
Just south of the Abbe Road bridge over French Creek, an attractive sign announces the entrance to the French Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. The plant treats wastewater from the communities of Avon, North Ridgeville, and Sheffield Village.
A long, tree-lined drive leads to the 37-acre facility, better known as the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, operated by the City of North Ridgeville. In late October the sycamore trees that line the drive were in full fall color as a contingent from the Sheffield Village Historical Society approached the gate and announced our presence to a communication box. The electronic gate slowly opened and we were advised to come to the Administration Building and sign in.
Soon we were joined by Plant Superintendent Donald D. Daley, who graciously answered our many questions and personally guided us on a 2-hour tour of the facility. Having been in charge of the plant for 22 years, it was obvious that Don Daley was proud of the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and we all agreed after our visit that his pride was well justified.
Taylor "Jack" Smith of the Avon Historical Society has explored the history of the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Jack traced the plant's establishment back to 1966 when the Ohio Water Pollution Control Board urged the communities of Avon, North Ridgeville, and Sheffield Village to form the French Creek Sewer District. Avon resisted the idea, calling the plan a "marble outhouse." In response to Avon's lack of support for a sewer district, in 1968 the State imposed a building freeze on Avon.
Avon citizens repeatedly voted against sewers, believing the building freeze would stop growth and preserve green space. In 1971, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill giving the Ohio Water Pollution Control Board the power to direct the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) to build sewage treatment facilities and levy assessments upon users to pay for construction costs. After a long period of negotiation, in November 1973 the Councils of Avon, North Ridgeville, and Sheffield Village approved a final contract with the State of Ohio to build the treatment plant.
Leo Sheets was serving as Sheffield Village Administrator during the original construction of the plant. Leo recalls that Johnson & Anderson Engineering of Pontiac, Michigan performed the engineering design and construction inspection for the plant.
The deep trench [along French Creek] required for the 54-inch main interceptor pipeline was hand-dug by coal miners from southern Ohio and West Virginia. Crossing Abbe Road at several locations, at times 20 feet of shale bedrock had to be excavated along the route through Avon and North Ridgeville. With construction of the plant underway, the State lifted the residential building ban on Avon, but kept the commercial/industrial restriction in place until the plant was opened.
The $23 million plant was completed in 1975 by the Ohio Water Development Authority, under Director Ned Williams, P.E., being funded by the federal (75%) and state (25%) grants, with only a minor contribution from the local communities.
For several years the Ohio Water Development Authority operated the plant. Although the plant was designed to process up to 7.5 million gallons of wastewater per day (mgd) in the early years it only handled about 1.9 mgd. In 1983, the State offered to sell the plants to the local governments. Avon and Sheffield declined the offer.
Under Mayor Dick Noll, North Ridgeville's offer of a mere $11,000 was accepted. For this reason, the City of North Ridgeville now operates the wastewater treatment plant in the heart of Sheffield. But that's all water over the dam, or should I say wastewater down the sewer -- now we can be proud that one of the most modern and efficient treatment plants in the region is located in our community.
The French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant services the French Creek Sewer District, which encompasses the entire communities of Avon, North Ridgeville, and Sheffield Village, an area of nearly 50 square miles. In terms of wastewater processed by the plant, the breakdown is as follows:
North Ridgeville 60%
Sheffield Village 10%
At slightly over 10 square miles, Sheffield Village is only about half the size of the other communities, but the other reason for the low percentage is that only the neighborhoods along Abbe Road have sewer lines; the remainder of the Village relies on septic tanks for wastewater disposal.
The annual budget for operating the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is $5 million, contributed by the three participating communities at the approximate percentage listed above for the wastewater delivered to the plant for each community.
The budget, rate charge, and other major operating/improvement decisions are made by the City of North Ridgeville on the recommendations of the plant management in consultation with a Satellite Sewer Committee, composed of representatives from the participating communities.
Sheffield's representatives on the Committee include Mayor John Hunter and Village Administrator Ken Kaczey. The communities in turn, set and collect user fees from residents and businesses as needed to meet their individual budget responsibility.
Don Daley explained a problem that occurs throughout the service area -- a phenomenon know as "infiltration." Surprisingly, about 30% of the wastewater that enters the plant does not come from sewer drains; it comes from groundwater.
When the water table is high, groundwater seeps into breaks in the lateral sewer pipes. The older lines, particularly in Avon and North Ridgeville, were constructed with vitrified (glasslike) clay pipe that often breaks when the ground settles. With some 100 miles of pipe, the amount of groundwater infiltrating through these breaks can be significant.
On average, about 2% of the sewer lines need to be replaced annually in a well-maintained system. Fortunately, Sheffield's sewer lines are much newer and were constructed with reinforced concrete pipe that is much less prone to breakage.
During dry periods, when the water table falls below the sewer pipes, the reverse process can occur as wastewater leaks out and can contaminate the groundwater. Drinking water lines are also prone to similar failures. Typically about 19% of the water carried by potable water lines is also lost through leaks in the system.
How the Plant Operates
The French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant has 23 full-time employees. Typically the plant operates 16 hours a day, in two shifts, and then is idle for 8 hours.
The plant processes from 5.8 to 7.2 million gallons of wastewater each day. All of the sewage-laden water enters the treatment plant by gravity flow. To accomplish this, the 54-inch diameter main interceptor pipe is set 75 feet below the ground surface, four floors below the Administration Building.
Here, a series of five huge pumps, each capable of pumping 3,750 gallons/minute, convey the inflowing wastewater to a large Wet Well some 25 feet above the ground. From the well the wastewater begins a 12-hour journey through the treatment plant.
At the end of the process two things remain: purified water that is discharged to French Creek just upstream of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad bridge, and inert sludge that has been processed for beneficial uses.
The first stage in processing the wastewater consists of collecting large pieces of solid debris on bar screens located just ahead of the pumps under the Administration Building. From the Wet Well raw sewage flows by gravity to the Grit Building, where sand- to fine gravel-sized particles and solids of high specific gravity settle at the bottom of a Grit Tank.
Some of the items collected on the screens are bizarre, including false teeth, hypodermic needles, diamond rings, wallets, and cash (one roll had $150 dollars of soggy bills).
From the Grit Building the wastewater again flows by gravity to a Mixing Well and then to one of three Primary Clarifiers, circular digestion/settling tanks 120 feet in diameter, which consist of an outer ring where agitation occurs, and an inner ring with a revolving center shaft at the bottom fitted with plow-like blades that push the deposited sludge toward a central discharge hopper.
In the outer ring, aeration tends to break the sewage into fine particles and it aids in the biological digestion of organic waste materials.
The microbial community bringing about the degradation of organic wastes, known as the Activated Sludge Process, is maintained in suspension in the liquid by diffused air. The wastewater in the clarifier literally appears to boil from the air injected into the tank from large compressors.
Wastewater is continually recycled back to the Mixing Well where it mixes with incoming raw sewage for a period of 4 to 6 hours. The plant operator monitors the microbial content of the liquid in the Clarifiers.
When the bacterial count reaches the proper "sledge age" of 2,500 to 3,500 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of mix liquor suspended solids (MLSS), the wastewater is ready for the next step. The particular two-ring design at the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, in conjunction with recycling the wastewater, is referred to as the "Walker Process."
The next step in the process, Filtration, consists passing the water from the Clarifiers through sand or membrane filters. The preferred filter at the plant is a 3-ft square woven-cloth membrane that looks and feels much like the inside of a fleece-lined jacket. A series of six membranes, mounted on steel frames, are set into a sluiceway where the filtration occurs. The membranes are capable of being back-flushed to clear out the filtered particles and are relatively durable, lasting up to five years.
The final step in the process involves passage of processed wastewater down a 251-ft-long concrete channel where final sedimentation of any particulate matter occurs. The channel was originally designed as a chlorine gallery where chemical disinfection was once used.
Since that time chlorine-based compounds have been found to be deleterious to the ecology of streams. Now, at the end of the channel ultra-violet rays are pasted through the water. Working much like microwaves, they disinfect the processed water before it is discharged into French Creek. This step in the process is known as "polishing."
Sludge from the various collections points within the plant is carried to the Sludge Building for final processing. Here, powerful centrifuges further dewater the sludge through a recycling process.
This digested sludge is only about one third of its original volume and is a rather inoffensive, humus-like material. From the Sludge Building the final product is carried by a conveyor system to an exterior storage yard on the southwest corner of the site. Currently classified as Class B sludge, plans are underway to provide internal storage and upgrade the material to Class A.
Rainstorm infiltration is one of the most serious problems for the treatment plant. The plant can cope with up to twice the normal rate of wastewater during a storm, but when rainfall exceeds 2 inches the plant is prone to flooding.
In the early years of plant operation, the amount of wastewater during heavy storms exceeded the plant's capacity to process it and the plant was flooded out on several occasions. With the approval of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, large holding tanks (1.5 million gallon-capacity) were constructed near the plant's outfall pipe to temporarily hold excess raw sewage and blend it with processed wastewater before releasing it to French Creek. This bypass situation typically occurs once or twice each year.
Severe cases of flooding took place in 1976 were sewer manhole covers were inadvertently left open in North Ridgeville during a rainstorm and on August 20, 2005, when an estimated 5.8 inches of rain fell on the French Creek watershed, a near 100-year storm event.
Other features of the plant include 1.2 miles of lighted tunnels to carry utility lines. The tunnels originate in the second floor of the Administration Building and are large enough for two people to walk abreast. During the winter some of the plant's staff keep fit by running the tunnels.
An impressive electrical room is located nearby, where incoming electromotive force of 69,000 volts is ultimately stepped down to 220 and 110 volts. A modern water quality laboratory is located in the Administration Building, where testing for hazardous/toxic chemicals and pathogenic bacterial is routinely conducted. The main control center is also located in this building. Here, computerized graphic displays of the various components of the plant permits an operator to monitor all aspects of plant operation.
Don Daley and his Assistant Superintendent Mark Francis are continually looking for ways to make the plant more efficient and develop services that bring additional revenue to the plant. In recent years the plant has been fully automated with computer technology. Don Daley noted, "In an emergency, I could operate the plant from home on my laptop.
"Under Don's leadership, the plant has undergone a major expansion. HB Engineering of Middleburg Heights was selected as the prime contractor to engineer the project, which increased the wastewater capacity of 7.5 mgd to 11.25 million gallon per day. Completed in 2003, the expansion was paid for by user fees, tap-in fees, and charges to septic haulers.
One of Don's main goals is to avoid crisis management through forward thinking to anticipate and be prepared for to deal with unexpected situations. To accomplish this Don has instituted a program of "cross-training," whereby employees are given the opportunity to learn the how to do the jobs of other staff members if the needed arises.
One of the newest innovations at the plant is Industrial Pre-Treatment (IPT). From area industries, several tank trucks arrive daily carrying non-toxic wastes too chemically enriched to be flushed directly into the sewer system. At the IPT building these wastes are processed under strict State regulations and rendered safe for regular treatment in the main plant.
Some of the industrial waste contains high levels of phosphate, an unwanted nutrient that stimulates algal growth in streams and Lake Erie. The IPT facility removes the phosphate by treatment with ferrous chloride (FeCl3), before the industrial wastewater is directed to the regular treatment process.
Under the direction IPT foreman Lou Cover, this new process earns from $25,000 to $38,000 a week in fees from user industries. The proximity of this new treatment option to Sheffield's business and industrial properties should place the Village in an advantageous position to attract new industry.
Another source of funds to offset some of the operating cost for the plant comes from fee charged to septic haulers. Across northern Lorain County some 19 companies, in business to pump out septic tanks in unsewered regions of the County, bring their sewage to the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant for processing. Last year (2008), fees paid by the septic haulers amounted to $489,000.
Sludge is an important by-product at the treatment plant where 20,000 tons (about 60,000 cubic yards) of material is produced annually. The sludge is suitable for many practical applications, such as garden mulch and soil conditioners. Large quantities of sludge from the plant are trucked to Huron County for agricultural purposes. Working with Ohio State University Professor Terry Logan, Don Daley has developed a liquid sludge product that has been applied to farm field near Castalia, Ohio.
Within the next several months a large building will be constructed at the west end of the facility site for storage sludge. Approval of this material as Class A (best classification for multiple uses) is now pending approval from the Ohio EPA. The building will also house a sludge bagging apparatus.
This spring the plant plans to have 40-lb, bright yellow bags of sludge available free of charge to citizens of the participating communities. Probably the most intriguing use of sludge is currently being worked on by Dr. Logan and Don Daley -- Green Fuel.
Well, maybe not really green in the color sense -- more of an earthy brown! The concept is to pelletize the sludge to form an environmentally friendly fuel for electric power generating plants and commercial landscape nurseries. Pellitized sledge has been shown to ignite at 500°F, which makes it an ideal alternative fuel for local power plants that now burn sulfur-laden coal or in the case of nurseries that burn corn.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 10-10-10, By Rebecca Turman
[Sewers -- Avon versus North Ridgeville]
``AVON -- When the city of Avon began construction in 2007 of the sanitary sewer on Jaycox Road, running from south of I-90 north to Avon Lake, the city of North Ridgeville had a problem with it.
The sewage flows north to the Avon Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, but North Ridgeville officials say the flow should have been sent to the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant [WWTP], owned by North Ridgeville, according to the Northeast Ohio 208 Water Quality Management Plan
The plan, established in 1979, created boundaries (Facility Planning Areas) dividing sewer service throughout Ohio. According to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), NOACA is responsible for "evaluating consistency in respective areas."
The French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant services a large portion of Avon, but the Avon Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant services part of the city, north of Chester Road and east of SR 83.
To make matters more complicated, Avon received approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to install the sewer, which flows to Avon Lake. The EPA is responsible for checking the Facility Planning Area boundaries when approving projects.
The Press last wrote about the dispute in January 2010. Since then, Avon, North Ridgeville and Avon Lake city officials have met to try to remedy the situation, but have come up with no compromise. The last time they met was May or June 2010, according to Avon Law Director John Gasior ...
In a letter to James R. Gills, chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) Water Quality Subcommittee of NOACA dated July 1, 2010, North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock asked for the following to be placed on the subcommittee's August 2010 agenda:
"Diversion of Sewer Flow from French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Facility Planning Area (FPA) by the City of Avon to Avon Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant Leading to Lost Revenue to Maintain French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and Higher Sewer Rates for the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Facility Planning Area Customers."
Gillock went on to write, "In 2007, the city of North Ridgeville discovered that the city of Avon was in the process of constructing a new sanitary sewer on Jaycox Road in the French Creek WWTP FPA, which would divert flows from the French Creek WWTP to the Avon Lake WWTP.
Recently, the city of North Ridgeville contracted with CH2MHILL to do a study to determine what the projected loss in revenue for the operation of the French Creek WWTP would be. The projected total revenue loss from current and future connection charge revenue is $4,777,000. The loss to date is estimated to be $653,809.
As a result of the study, CH2MHILL determined that the area diverted was larger than expected The city of North Ridgeville believes this a clear violation of the 208 plan boundary area and is requesting a final determination of the same from NOACA. The city of North Ridgeville is also seeking a determination as to grounds for seeking relief from this violation."
Gillock's request was placed on the Water Quality Subcommittee agenda for the Aug. 18  meeting ...
The city of Avon was unaware of Gillock's request in July and was never notified by North Ridgeville or NOACA officials of the Aug. 18 meeting, according to Gasior.
As a result of the meeting, the subcommittee recommended Resolution No. 2010-035 for the NOACA Governing Board Members.
According to a Sept. 1  memorandum from Andy Vidra, senior environmental planner, and Mary Wells, environmental planner, to the NOACA Governing Board members, the resolution "makes a finding that the Avon PTI (Permit to Install) creates an inconsistency with Clean Water 2000 Plan (NOACA's first comprehensive update to the Northeast Ohio 208 Water Quality Management Plan) by allowing sewer service within the French Creek FPA with sewage flows being transmitted to the Avon Lake FPA, where such flows are required, by the Plan, to be transmitted to the French Creek FPA."
At a Sept. 10 meeting, the NOACA Governing Board approved the resolution, agreeing the sewage flow to Avon Lake is "inconsistent with Clean Water 2000, NOACA's duly adopted Water Quality Management Plan, in that service and sewage flow for that area under Clean Water 2000 are part of the French Creek FPA." ...
"We found out at the very end of August that the September vote (by the governing board) was going to happen," Gasior said.
That's because on Aug. 27, in the midst of North Ridgeville's request, the cities of Avon and Avon Lake hand delivered a letter to NOACA Executive Director Howard R. Maier, petitioning NOACA to "amend the current Clean Water 2000 Plan by redrawing the current FPA boundary lines between the French Creek WWTP and the Avon Lake WWTP to promote more efficient and economic treatment of wastewater from a portion of the city of Avon."
It was then that Vidra told city officials about North Ridgeville's request, Gasior said.
The letter, signed by Avon Lake Municipal Utilities Chief Utilities Executive John Kniepper, Avon Mayor Jim Smith and Avon Engineer Rob Knopf, also states, "Avon has been promoting economic development in its northeast quadrant for many years."
"With the completion of this interchange (at I-90 and Nagel Road) will come economic development and the need for sanitary sewers. Avon is not aware of any plans underway by French Creek to facilitate the installation of the needed infrastructure to carry future sanitary flows to their treatment plant in Sheffield Village. Avon Lake on the other hand has expressed real interest in assisting Avon in solving this sewage issue."
The letter notes the Ohio EPA signed off on the PTI for the sanitary sewer that flows to Avon Lake by gravity.
"This allowed Avon to abandon a costly pump station near Avenbury Lakes residential development and achieve future cost savings by eliminating the need to move sanitary flows uphill," the letter states.
To conclude, the cities state in the letter, "the proposed boundary modification is overdue," and they ask NOACA make a decision "that is in the best interest of the citizens in this affected area."
Asked if Avon officials have heard back about the modification request, Gasior said, "They haven't voted on it yet."
Even with NOACA's approval of the resolution saying Avon's flow is "inconsistent," and regardless if the group did approve of Avon and Avon Lake's modification request, Gasior said, "They are not a deciding body. They are a recommending agency. (They) will have to make a recommendation to the Ohio EPA. The director of the EPA will make a decision whether the area should be modified."
Gasior's statement is backed up by one made by Maier at the Aug. 18 Water Quality Subcommittee meeting. According to minutes from the meeting, Maier stated, "NOACA could not issue rulings or orders, but it could not condone the violation."
Depending on the EPA's decision, Gasior said North Ridgeville or Avon/Avon Lake could appeal the decision.
"The fact that the Ohio EPA issued (the) PTI was a compelling reason," Gasior said of a support for the modification request. "They must have seen we were going by gravity. The most cost-effective way to treat the sewage is to go to Avon Lake." ...
At Avon City Council's Tuesday regular meeting [10-12-10], members will vote to hire outside legal counsel - Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP - to represent the city in the sanitary sewer dispute.
Gasior said Richard Goddard, who worked with Avon Lake on the LORCO dispute, would serve as the lead attorney, if council approves the ordinance.
Gillock could not be reached for comment.''
Contact Rebecca Turman at email@example.com
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-13-10, By JAMILA T. WILLIAMS jwilliams@MorningJournal.com
Avon preparing for legal battle with North Ridgeville
``AVON -- Avon is planning for a possible legal battle after North Ridgeville disputed Avon's plans to run its sanitary sewer system to Avon Lake. City Council approved an ordinance last night [10-12-10] to allow the city to hire Calfee, Halter and Griswold LLP, a Cleveland-based law firm, to help the city in a boundary dispute.
Avon Law Director John Gasior said the city is looking at changing boundary lines ...
Gasior said the city would have to build pump stations, which would not be cost effective. Robert Knopf, city engineer, added that the stations would not only require money, but also require ongoing maintenance ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-2-11, By Rebecca Turman
[Sewage in Avon basements]
``AVON -- During reports and comments of the City Council regular Monday [2-28-11] night meeting, Avon Mayor Jim Smith asked council members to look into the sewage backup issues that arose when the recent rainstorm hit the city.
Smith said many residents in the Northgate and Stonebridge developments had sewage coming up in their basements.
"We checked; the North Ridgeville (French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant) interceptor was full to the brim," he told council members.
Smith noted the storm was a rare one. Even he had water in his basement, which he said was the first time that's happened in 27 years.
"It's not our 'stuff' so to speak," Smith said, referring to the sewage backup. "When you start getting sewage backup in your basement, that's uncalled for. There's no more room for sewage in that trunk line, especially when it rains."
Smith recommended council members put a moratorium in place for developers who are looking to tie into the trunk line until the city gets some answers from North Ridgeville about the issue.
"Some areas you might want to say you don't want to put basements in," Smith added. "We aren't getting answers for it. It's up to council to start taking a look ..."
Councilman Dennis McBride asked whether a temporary moratorium would be necessary ...
Councilman Dan Zegarac asked how many homes were flooded with sewage, but an exact number wasn't known as of Monday night ...
"There should be no excuse for that," Smith said of the sewage problem. "You welcome new residents in the community with a couple feet of crap in their basement."...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-9-11, By Rebecca Turman
``Avon council moves toward sewer moratorium
AVON -- Avon City Council members could put a 90-day moratorium in place as soon as Monday [3-14-11] that would prevent new residential developments from tying into the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
[A 90-day partial moratorium was adopted by Council on 3-14-11]
According to the draft ordinance, during the 90 days, "the city will attempt to conduct a study and/or make recommendations regarding what action, if any, the city of Avon should take to preserve the public health, safety and welfare through the provisions of adequate sanitary sewer infrastructure, land use or other regulatory controls that are specifically applicable to land development."
The moratorium was originally recommended by Avon Mayor Jim Smith during the Feb. 28  City Council regular meeting. His request was brought on after many homeowners in the Northgate and Stonebridge subdivisions in Avon reported they had sewage discharge in their homes following last week's rainstorm.
"We checked; the North Ridgeville (French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant) interceptor was full to the brim," he told council members at the Feb. 28 meeting. "When you start getting sewage backup in your basement, that's uncalled for. There's no more room for sewage in that trunk line, especially when it rains."
In a Monday interview prior to the City Council work session, Avon City Engineer Rob Knopf said city officials have talked to representatives from the city of North Ridgeville, which owns the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, about the sewage backing up into Avon homes.
"We are trying to figure out exactly what can be done," Knopf said. "The argument comes into play as to who is responsible. Is it the local system? Is it purely just the interceptor? Or a combination?"
According to Knopf, however, fixing the problem won't be cheap.
"Just for the study for the city of Avon areas, you are looking at easily a half a million dollars, not including the work that would have to be done to try to go and actually fix things," he said.
Knopf noted the areas that had the biggest problems after the rainstorm hit were "almost entirely located on the streets connecting right into the interceptor."
Knopf said city officials discovered a number of houses in the Stonebridge subdivision did not have backflow valves in place.
"Those would have helped out quite a bit with a house that did not have them," he said of the sewage backup.
Knopf said the city is working on a questionnaire to be distributed to homeowners in the affected areas to collect more information.
Before the Monday night work session, the Legal and Service committees held a joint meeting to discuss the sewer situation and allow homeowners to voice their concerns.
Legal Committee Chairman and Councilman Dan Urban told homeowners another meeting would be held as soon as the city has information to share with them regarding the findings over the next 90 days ...
Later on in the meeting, Knopf said, "Some of these studies have to be done in the dry season - July, August - in order to get accurate readings. You're looking at another six to seven months before a study can be performed."
Avon Law Director John Gasior said the Planning Commission is scheduled to review three residential developments during a March 16  meeting.
"I can rewrite this (ordinance) so that anything in the pipeline so to speak can go through," he said. "Nothing could be submitted to Planning Commission after you pass this (as is). It's up to you."
"I'd like to see anything in the pipeline go through," Council President Craig Witherspoon said ...
"There [are] ways North Ridgeville can protect us more and we can protect ourselves more," Councilman Bryan Jensen said.''
[What about more storm water infiltration from the thousands of new homes planned in North Ridgeville?]
PRESS RELEASE to The Sun Sentinel, 3-9-11
The following is a release submitted by Avon City Engineer Rob Knopf:
``On behalf of the city officials, I would like to say that I am truly sorry for the ordeals that the residents of Avon went through on Feb. 28.
There have been various reports that we received anywhere between 3 to 7 inches of water into our system (between rain and snow melt) in six hours. There was nothing that the city could do to prevent what happened. Many homes received water in their basements that never received it ever before ...
Having 'clean' water flooding into one's house is bad; having sewage flowing into a home is nearly inexcusable.
There have been some reports that the back-flow prevention devices were not present during the storm.
These devices are installed during the building inspection process. During the final inspection, many times they are removed by the builder and then re-installed. It is not standard practice for the inspectors to wait to check that they are re-installed. Protocol will be put in place to remedy this as best as possible.
During the storm, the main sanitary interceptor into which the local sanitary sewers flow were surcharged (full), in some cases almost reaching the manhole rim some 25 feet deep. Our crews did everything they could to make sure that our infrastructure functioned properly or the ramifications would have been much worse.
We are investigating to see why the interceptor, which is owned and run by another city, became as full as it was as a result of this storm.
Finally, in order to receive an accurate picture of this storm's devastation, we ask that you complete a questionnaire, available online (cityofavon.com), and provide us with as much information as possible regarding your damage.''
Robert J. Knopf, Avon city engineer
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-16-11, By Rebecca Turman
``AVON -- Avon City Council members voted Monday [3-14-11] night to place a 90-day moratorium on new residential development within the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant sanitary sewer district.
Action came as the result of sewer backups in Avon homes after a Feb. 28 rainstorm dumped several inches of rain on top of a 7-inch snowpack.
Many homeowners in the Northgate and Stonebridge subdivisions reported their basements flooded with sewage discharge, according to city officials.
Avon City Engineer Rob Knopf stated last week the areas hit the hardest by the sewage discharge after the rainstorm were "almost entirely located on the streets connecting right into the interceptor."
Knopf also said in a previous interview that the Feb. 28  storm was "probably in the top 5 of the rainstorms we've had at least since 2000."
During the 90-day moratorium, city officials will attempt to conduct a study and make recommendations the city should make moving forward in terms of the sanitary sewer infrastructure.
As part of the ordinance, residential developments that have already gone through Planning Commission, including those that will go before the commission March 16 , will not be affected by the moratorium.
During the regular meeting, council also approved an ordinance "adopting a revision to the standard construction drawings for the city of Avon dated May 10, 2005, requiring a ˝ horsepower sump pumps for all new construction."
"The entire standard needs to be looked at in more detail," Law Director JohnÂ Gasior said, who noted that making the Â˝ horsepower sump pump mandatory in new construction was one of few steps that would need to be taken to protect Avon residents from sewer backups ...
Knopf said he was currently working with the Utilities and Building departments to update the city's standards ...
Councilman Bryan Jensen stated most of the sewage backups would not have happened had backflow valves been in place in the homes ...
Knopf noted that he met with North Ridgeville officials already to discuss the sewer issue and he planned to meet with them again this week.
North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock could not be reached for comment prior to The Press deadline.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-2-11, By Rebecca Turman
``NOACA looks into study for area sewer boundaries
LORAIN COUNTY -- The Northeast Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is looking into initiating a study to evaluate the "potential changes to French Creek Sanitary Sewer Facility Planning Area boundaries," according to a Request for Proposals listed on the NOACA website.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency may soon initiate a study on sewer boundaries in Lorain County. The map above shows the current boundary lines of areas serviced by Avon Lake in green and the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in red. Courtesy graphic
Area city officials are interested to see how the study will impact them, especially in the cities of Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville, which have been trying to settle an ongoing dispute regarding sanitary sewers ...
"In 2007 or so, this issue got brought up," Avon City Engineer Rob Knopf said during a Feb. 2 interview.
When the city of Avon began construction of the sanitary sewer on Jaycox Road, running from south of I-90 north to Avon Lake, it became an issue for the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, owned by the city of North Ridgeville.
The sewage flows north to the Avon Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, but should flow to the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant instead, according to North Ridgeville officials, per the Clean Water 2000 Plan.
The Clean Water 2000 Plan, established in 1979 as the Northeast Ohio 208 Water Quality Management Plan, created boundaries (Facility Planning Areas) dividing sewer service throughout Ohio. NOACA is responsible for "evaluating consistency in respective areas," according to the website.
In July 2010, North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock wrote a letter to James R. Gills, chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) Water Quality Subcommittee of NOACA, stating the "diversion" of the sewage flow violated the 2000 plan boundary areas, and he asked NOACA to recognize this violation.
At a September 2010 meeting, the NOACA governing board approved a resolution, agreeing the sewage flow to Avon Lake is 'inconsistent with Clean Water 2000' in that service and sewage flow for that area under Clean Water 2000 are part of the French Creek Facility Planning Area."
In the meantime, at the end of August, the cities of Avon and Avon Lake submitted a letter to NOACA Executive Director Howard R. Maier, petitioning NOACA to "amend the current Clean Water 2000 Plan by redrawing the current Facility Planning Area boundary lines between French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and Avon Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant to promote more efficient and economic treatment of wastewater from a portion of the city of Avon."
"The study is purportedly being completed to potentially analyze the best way to sewer a portion of the northeast part of Lorain County," Gillock said during a Friday interview. "It's being done as a result of a disagreement, shall we say."
The parties involved in the study include North Ridgeville, Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Village, Lorain and NOACA.
Knopf said Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter brought up the fact a portion of his town would be better served going to Lorain than the French Creek Wastewater Treatment.
As a result, Knopf said it was added to the study.
He said the purpose of the study is to find a "common sense approach to this 208 map district to see where these existing areas should best be served while also looking at the economic impact."
"NOACA is leading everything," he said.
Gillock said the study, or the results that come from one, won't necessarily resolve the original dispute.
"It's one piece of information that will help us," he said. "But there are several options of resolution."
Some of those options include removing the pipe, having Avon pay for sewer tap-in fees or swapping properties, Gillock said.
"This study is just one small element," he said. "There's not going to be a one-best-case-scenario out of this study."
Once a cost for the study is determined, the plan is for the cities involved to pay for it, both Gillock and Knopf said.
But Gillock said, "North Ridgeville is not helping to pay for this study because we've already completed a study which tells us we have lost about $653,000 in revenue already because of the redirection of our sewers."
Gillock said the study paid for by North Ridgeville and conducted by CH2M Hill showed a potential loss of $5 million for the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Gillock clarified while the plant is owned by North Ridgeville, "it's not really North Ridgeville versus or against Avon or Avon Lake." He said it's an issue for the plant.
"North Ridgeville is a customer," he said, adding the money 'lost' or the "potential loss," if paid, wouldn't be helping the city's General Fund ...
Gillock said the participating cities will have a vote on who will perform the studies ...
Companies that submitted proposals for the study were set to present them yesterday, after The Press deadline.
"The study doesn't bind us to anything" Gillock said. "(It) does give us some indications of - to a point - what might be out there."
However, Gillock said NOACA can change the boundaries of the sewers.
"It's a process we have to go through," he added. "They still have to consider remuneration to French Creek (Wastewater Treatment Plant) should they change our service area."
Gillock added the plant's current rates are based on serving a particular area.
Ultimately, when asked what the ideal situation for North Ridgeville would be as a result of the study, Gillock said, "The best-case scenario would be to leave things alone and send everything to North Ridgeville."
During a meeting discussing the boundary lines, Knopf said a NOACA staff member stated the boundary lines for the districts were not created using typical engineering design ...
He added the hope is to have a study finalized by mid-May .
"If things go the way that they should, the consumers should really not see an impact because it's going to be the best way of doing things," Knopf noted.
"The best case scenario for everyone is that NOACA recommends the realignment of the 208 map per our proposed master plan, which is to make this area go to Avon Lake," Knopf said.
Right now the map shows that for people who live on the south side of Chester Road, their sewage is pumped to French Creek, but for the people who live on the north side of Chester Road, it's pumped to Avon Lake, according to Knopf.
"Progress is definitely being made now," Knopf said. "Hopefully by June, NOACA will make a decision."
Amy Wainright, a representative from NOACA, said she could not comment on the study "outside of the competitive bid process," which ended yesterday.''
Contact Rebecca Turman at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-15-11, By Lisa Roberson
``Agency looking at sewer lines
A study could soon be commissioned to determine if the current sewer boundary lines surrounding Avon, North Ridgeville and Sheffield should be changed.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency is working with the three local communities to determine the scope of the study, who will pay for it and when it should be completed. The goal is to have a study completed to determine the most effective way to provide wastewater services in the cities. Currently, all three are in one facility planning area and all use the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is owned by North Ridgeville.
However, Sheffield Mayor John Hunter said the lines should be looked at because they were drawn 40 years ago and might no longer serve the communities in the best way.
"We have a sewer line that is 64 feet away from Lorain, but we cannot connect to it because we are not in that sewer district, even though development of that area would benefit from the sewer," he said. "The closer sewer for us to tap into is 3.4 miles away and would require us to go uphill to a wastewater facility."
As such, Hunter said it would be cost prohibitive to redevelop the 64.7 acres of land on Root Road near the Sheffield-Lorain border. The study is the first step toward finding was to effectively deliver services. So far, it has not been determined how much such a study would cost or how it would be funded.
North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock said North Ridgeville would not pay for the study, which could be completed as early as this spring.
In the end, he hopes the study will protect the interests of the French Creek plant. There has already been one instance that has cost the plant money, Gillock said.
In 2009, Avon ran a sewer line to Avon Lake that went outside the facility planning area. Avon was supposed to use the French Creek plant.
"We learned the EPA inadvertently gave them a permit to install, which was done in error," he said. "We had a study done that said that, to date, lost fees to French Creek have totaled more than $600,000. We cannot have that happen again. By the Clean Water Act, each sewer facility has a facility planning area."
Gillock said rates are set based on who is in the facility planning area, and if that changes the plant will not be able to financially support itself.
"You can't start chopping off sections of properties because if you do, you will not have the revenue to support that plant or you will have to increase your rates to financially support the plant," he said. "I have an obligation as the owner of the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility to protect its interests. The rates are based on the facility planning areas."
NOACA is involved in the process because it manages all of the facility planning areas and can unilaterally decide to change the boundary lines in the area.
But first, Hunter said, a study has to be done. Working out the particulars is the step all the respective cities are in right now, he said.''
Contact Lisa Roberson at email@example.com.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 10-21-11, By John Edwards
[Sheffield opposes expansion of sewage plant]
SHEFFIELD VILLAGE -- Sheffield Village Council unanimously opposed last week a proposal to expand North Ridgeville's French Creek [Sewage] Treatment plant on Abbe Road. The expansion would be a regional sewage treatment facility to replace treatment plants in Lorain, Elyria and Amherst, facilities deemed unsatisfactory by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Mayor John Hunter asked Sheffield Village Council for the resolution opposing the expansion ... While he agrees a regional sewage treatment plant is needed, Hunter believes it should be constructed on industrially zoned, vacant land on the Black River in Lorain, instead of in a residential zone in Sheffield Village.
'We don't want the extra odor, the extra lights or the extra truck traffic,' Hunter said ...
I know the village council gave [Ridgeville] the right to expand that plant back in 1970, and affirmed it in 1999, but times have changed. It makes more sense to build a new, state-of-the-art treatment plant on the river in Lorain.'...
The French Creek treatment plant is 3.25 miles away from the Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ), and the Lorain sewer is only 34 feet away. If North Ridgeville denies it, we'll have a compelling case to present to NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency) when we ask them to overrule North Ridgeville.'...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 2-2-12, By Bruce Geiselman
[French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is key]
North Ridgeville's French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant would play a key role in treating sewage from the eastern portion of Lorain County ... [by a proposed Lorain County Regional Sewer District.]
A workgroup, consisting of representatives of each of the communities involved as well as the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District (LORCO) and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), has been developing the plan for the past nine months. It was presented to government leaders and others during a Jan. 24  meeting in Elyria.
After hearing the 80-minute presentation, North Ridgeville City Council President Kevin Corcoran said he was left with more questions than answers ...
One of the questions has to do with how North Ridgeville would be compensated if a new regional sewer authority assumed control of the now city-run plant.
Gregory Osthues, an engineer with Arcadis, a consulting firm hired by the city of Lorain to help develop the plan, delivered the presentation ...
The plan would involve sending wastewater from Lorain County's member communities to one of two wastewater treatment plants -- one planned for what is known as the Ford Property on the west side of Lorain, and the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is owned by North Ridgeville but situated in Sheffield Village.
Under the proposal, the French Creek plant's maximum daily capacity would be increased from 11 million gallons per day to nearly 48 million gallons per day over 10 years. The plant -- which treats wastewater from North Ridgeville, Avon and Sheffield Village -- would expand to also accept wastewater from Lorain, Avon Lake, Elyria and the [proposed] Lorain County Regional Sewer District.
Cost projections by Arcadis showed most cities would end up saving money by joining the authority. For example, their projections indicate that 'typical' residential customers in Avon, North Ridgeville and Sheffield Village would save about $14.37 per month on their total sewer bills. Lorain residents would save about nine cents per month, and Avon Lake and Elyria residents would actually see their bills increase by about $6.06 per month and $11.61 per month, respectively ...
Councilman Dennis Boose, of North Ridgeville, asked how the authority would compensate North Ridgeville for the money it has invested in the French Creek plant if the authority takes it over.
Osthues said the authority could not pay the city any cash, but it could assume whatever debt the city has on the plant ...
If the plan goes forward, the discharge from the French Creek Wastewater plant would need to be rerouted. The plant now discharges into the French Creek. However, Osthues said the discharge would need to be changed to either Lake Erie or the Black River.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-3-12, By Beth Mlady
Officials take issue with regional sewer concept
AVON -- Avon City Councilman Dennis McBride sat and listened Jan. 24 while an engineer from ARCADIS/Malcolm Pirnie provided study results regarding creation of a regional wastewater authority for Lorain County ...
"Your study is skewed," McBride told Greg Osthues, associate vice president of ARCADIS ... I'm just not seeing any benefit. You're going to create a huge bureaucracy ... [and a bigger marble outhouse?]
Lorain officials first signed a contract with ARCADIS/Malcolm Pirnie last April , at a cost of $178,000, to find ways to "stabilize and possibly reduce the cost of sewer fees over the long term for the citizens of Lorain," according to Lorain's ordinance ...
Approximately 50 people, including Avon City Engineer Robert Knopf and John Hunter, mayor of Sheffield Village, attended the Jan. 24 public meeting ... Also involved were the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District (LORCO) and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).
Frank Detillio, president of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, provided a brief history of the regional sewer concept as the meeting got under way.
"The process started at the beginning of last year , with Lorain looking at building a new facility," he said. "Because the cost was so high, the city of Lorain thought maybe at looking at something more regional." ...
Four sites were considered for sewer treatment plants, but only two were chosen as ideal locations, based on a 10-criteria evaluation process. For the county's west service area, the Ford property rated highest among the options, while the existing French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, owned by North Ridgeville, fared best for the east side ...
Mayor John Hunter said Sheffield Village residents remain his "top priority."
"I am very, very concerned about -- the smell into a residential area," Hunter said. "I'm glad that they're looking at a way to get (discharge) directly to Lake Erie. I still have concerns about infrastructure within Sheffield Village. How will this affect the landscape? Thirty-eight percent of our residents are on a septic system ..."
Total estimated cost to implement a regionalized authority, with an east side treatment plant and one on the west side, is $187 million for years one to five, and $292 million for years five to 10, according to ARCADIS. Financing would come from issuance of revenue bonds at 5 percent for 30 years ...
Pittsfield Twp. amends zoning laws to prohibit new waste storage facility
Filed on January 29, 2014 by Chelsea Miller
Pittsfield Township trustees have approved a zoning law designed to prohibit companies like Quasar Energy Group from installing a waste storage facility in the township.
Under the amendment approved this month, no pond, lagoon, impoundment area or storage vessel shall be constructed or used to store sewage, industrial waste or human waste, treated or untreated, in a residential, agricultural or business district. Human, animal or industrial waste generated on premise will be allowed under the township's zoning laws.
Trustee Mark McConnell said the amendment was careful to consider home sanitation systems and the needs of farmers who use animal waste on their land.
The new law would not apply to sanitary units approved by the Lorain County Board of Health or other agencies with authority to approve unit installations. A conditional-use permit for such use may be issued in accordance with the township's zoning laws.
McConnell said the township's Zoning Board proposed the changes, which were sent to the Planning Commission for review. Township trustees made the final approval.
He said the additions followed public outcry after Quasar Energy Group constructed a storage lagoon, designed to hold treated human waste, on farmland off Quarry Road.
Quasar has since scrapped its plans, and the pond was never operational after a legal fight among the company, the township and nearby residents.
"(The amendment) was designed to prohibit independent storage units of municipalities or Quasar or any other entity," McConnell said. "It was an attempt, even though we were well covered with our existing zoning laws. This was just fine-tuning our existing zoning laws."
Contact Chelsea Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Ridgeville's biodigester will save money, produce energy
Filed by Steve Fogarty February 15th, 2012 in Top Stories.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- For years, the city has had to pay about $20 per ton for disposal of sludge produced at its wastewater treatment plant in area landfills.
Now an almost-completed $3.5 million project at the facility, 2350 Abbe Road, Sheffield, is expected to begin saving the city money by having thousands of tons of sludge converted to methane gas to create electricity and heat to power and warm the plant.
"We're getting a dedicated source to get rid of our sludge, saving on our electrical bill, lowering our costs per ton and keeping a lot of stuff out of landfills," Mayor David Gillock said Tuesday.
Quasar Energy Group, a Cleveland-based firm, is nearing completion on a $3.5 million anaerobic digester, a 750,000-gallon, silo-like structure that breaks down sludge by using bacteria that function in a manner similar to that found in nature.
"The whole thing mimics a very big cow's stomach," according to Alan Johnson, Quasar's vice president for project management, during a visit to the construction site Tuesday.
The city looks for the digester to go online in August  according to Gillock, after a period of testing.
Another plus of the biodigester is the methane gas it will produce and maintain beneath its dome -- thus eliminating its release into the atmosphere as greenhouse gas.
Plans call for the methane gas to be converted into electricity, which will be used to help power and heat the treatment plant with the help of an orange-colored 16-cylinder engine in a separate building next to the digester.
"That should supply two-thirds of the power for the plant," Johnson said.
The project was made possible by more than $2 million in federal grants and loans. Remaining sludge will then have water separated from it in a $600,000 centrifuge, for which the city is footing the bill.
"It's a wash for us because if we didn't do the project, we'd have to spend another $600,000 to build a storage tank (for the sludge) plus install a scrubber system," Gillock said.
Once that process is complete, Quasar will haul the treated sludge away daily.
"We won't have to deal with disposal or storage anymore," Gillock said. "That was a huge headache."
Under a long-term contract with Quasar, the city will pay a $2 fee for every ton of sludge sent to the digester, which is a fraction of the $20 to $21 per ton it has been paying to dispose of it through a consulting firm that located EPA-approved farmers who used the sludge as field fertilizer.
The city also won't be assessed a $50,000 feasibility fee Quasar normally charges, Gillock said.
"Since we're a new venture for them, we don't have to pay that," Gillock said.
Quasar Energy Group President Mel Kurtz said Gillock and other officials, including Safety-Service Director Jeff Armbruster and French Creek Superintendent Don Daley, were proactive when it came to exploring the concept of a biodigester.
"They were all really ahead of the curve on this," Kurtz said.
A similar biodigestor operated by Quasar in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood produces enough methane to power 600 to 700 homes -- although the gas currently is not used for such purposes.
Walmart stores in the Wooster area are sending much of their food waste to a Quasar biodigester, Johnson said.
"That's all garbage that is no longer being sent to landfills," Johnson said.
Contact Steve Fogarty at email@example.com.
Citywide sanitary sewer rate put in place means increase for some
Filed by rturman January 29, 2014 in News.
By Rebecca Turman
Starting in February, approximately 800 property owners in Avon will have to pay the same sanitary sewer rates as the rest of the property owners in the city.
During the Monday night regular meeting of Avon City Council, members approved an ordinance setting the same sanitary sewer rate across the city, regardless of where the sewer service may be from.
The sanitary sewer rate will increase 87 cents per 1,000 gallons for the close to 800 accounts who receive service from Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.
For the "average" user, the rate increase will amount to approximately $55.68 each year, assuming they use 64,000 gallons throughout the year, according to Avon finance Director Bill Logan.
"The other 7,000 or so accounts in Avon are serviced by the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant," Logan wrote in an e-mail earlier this week.
In January 2013, the Northeast Ohio Areawide
Coordinating Agency board approved a resolution modifying the Facility Planning Area boundaries for sanitary sewer services provided by Avon Lake and the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, therefore allowing Avon Lake to officially service part of the city of Avon.
Property owners who receive service from the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant already pay $5.79 per 1,000 gallons used. Avon Lake users were paying $4.92 per 1,000 gallons prior to the change.
With Avon Lake Municipal Utilities Plant planning to increase the sewer rate 7 percent in July 2014 and another 7 percent in July 2015, and possible adjustments to the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant rate expected sometime this year, the ordinance states, "it would be in the best interests of all the customers within the city to establish one sanitary sewer rate."
With the increase for the 800 accounts, $5.79 per 1,000 gallons will be the citywide rate, Logan said, noting the city did not increase sewer rates in 2013.
"We have had two separate rates, depending on which sewer system you were on," Logan wrote. "We want to create one consistent sewer rate throughout the city, regardless of which sewer system you happen to be on."
The base charge, according to the ordinance, for all users, will be $1.99 a month.
"We will evaluate the rates throughout this year, and depending on what North Ridgeville does with their rates, we may contemplate another increase," Logan wrote, though he said the city would like to see the rate stay at $5.79 per 1,000 gallons for the remainder of 2014.
The increase for the 800 accounts will go into effect in February , and will be reflected in the March 2014 bills, according to Logan.
Contact Rebecca Turman at firstname.lastname@example.org