Green Infrastructure Could Save $10M on Akron Sewer Project

Akron, OH is planning to build a 1.9 million-gallon stormwater overflow basin as part of a $1.4 billion project. The city wants to replace the storage basin with green infrastructure, which includes plants and soils that capture the water.

Akron stands to save about $10 million dollars in sewer improvement construction if a plan to use green infrastructure and alter pipe design for storm water management in East Akron is approved.

The original plan under the massive Akron Waterways Renewed! sewer project, called for construction of a roughly $20 million, 1.9 million-gallon storm water basin. The basin was to be built at the existing Rack 3 storage facility, built decades ago, near Kelly and 3rd avenues.

The basin would have captured sanitary storm water that overflowed from Rack 3 during heavy rains, to allow its release into the city's treatment system slowly and without overloading the system.

Akron residents are paying for the $1.4 billion Akron Waterways Renewed! sewer project as part of a 2014 deal the city made with the U.S. EPA. Akron must bring its sewer system into compliance with the Clean Water Act, and stop old sewers from overflowing into the Cuyahoga River by 2028. The city has been working to reduce the cost through innovative designs and reduced interest rates on loans.

The city's new proposed design would cost about $10 million, half the cost of the basin, and eliminate the basin and the cost of its long-term maintenance, said Akron Deputy Public Service Director Chris Ludle.

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