Sewer separation projects win approval

April 07, 2011

City Council approved legislation Monday night that allows Akron to move forward with two projects that will reduce combined sewer overflows despite the fact that the city's comprehensive overflow reduction plan is in limbo while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio EPA, City of Akron and Federal Judge John Adams debate its merits.

The legislation provides about $4.5 million for separating sanitary and storm sewers at Racks 8 and 25, which handle drainage for areas around Market Street and Case Avenue, and Cuyahoga Street and Glenwood Avenue respectively.

"We must move forward with these projects in order to save tax payers money," said City Council President Marco Sommerville. "The longer we delay, the more it will cost. That's what has happened with construction of our schools and community centers."

Council members Mike Williams (At large), Bruce Kilby (Ward 2) and Russ Neal (Ward 4) opposed the legislation because a final comprehensive agreement among the parties has not yet been reached. Public Service Committee Chair Jim Hurley (Ward 1) said that even if the projects are funded by Council, they cannot proceed unless the EPA issues permits.

"Both the Ohio EPA and the city want to get this started. These two projects will be part of the solution regardless of the final decision that is reached on the overall plan," he said.