Council approves first sewer repair equipment purchase under EPA consent decree

February 24, 2010

Akron City Council authorized the first equipment purchase to begin $500 million in repairs to its combined sewer overflow system ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Council Monday night authorized the Director of Public Service to purchase three new combination sewer cleaning and vacuum trucks, and two telemonitoring trucks, for a total of just over $1 million.

The city's older equipment will be traded in, so the amount paid for the vehicles may be lower than the estimate, said Council's Public Utilities Committee Chair Kenneth L. Jones.

"The combined sewer cleaning vacuum trucks are worth $250,000 each, and the telemonitoring trucks are worth $160,000 each, but we're trading in the old vehicles and we'll get somewhat of a discount," Jones (W-5) said.

The vehicles' function will be to assess blockage in the sewer systems, and then to clear the blockage.

"The telemonitoring vehicle goes into the sewer and tells the crews what's going on before they actually go in," Jones said. "Then the sewer cleaning vacuum trucks open up manholes and take up any blockage.

"When people call about sewer back-ups, these are the trucks that are deployed to clean up the blockage."

The vehicles will be the first required expenditure under the EPA decree Council approved in November, Jones said. A portion of the sewer rate increases implemented in January will help pay for the vehicle purchases.

Council in December passed an unprecedented sewer rate increase to pay for the EPA-mandated repairs to the city's 71-year-old combined sewer system, a $500,000 fine and pay $900,000 to remove the Ohio and Erie Canal diversion dam near Brecksville.