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Akron, Ohio

City Plans Greener and More Affordable Merriman Sewer Separation Project


City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Stephanie York
Published: 02-23-2015


          The City of Akron is working to move forward with its first “green infrastructure (GI)” project as part of the Akron Waterways Renewed Program.  The “Merriman Sewer Separation Project (Merriman Project)”, will provide for more environmental benefits and at a more affordable cost to the Akron consumers. This is the philosophy behind the Integrated Planning  process underway in Akron.

            Given the fact that the cost of the EPA mandated Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) program has risen from $870M to $1.14B ($1.4 billion, considering cost escalation to the time of construction), Mayor Don Plusquellic announced the City’s intention to develop an Integrated Plan to allow the City the flexibility to use alternative/new technologies, including Green technologies to determine more affordable ways to meet its regulatory requirements. Green technologies use vegetation, soils and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments. Examples of Green technologies are vegetated swales, bio-retention areas of planters, rain gardens, permeable pavements, curb extensions, and sidewalk and street tree boxes.

            Right now, the Merriman Project (CSO Rack 36) requires a 1.1 million gallon concrete storage basin and is designed to hold combined sewer overflow during wet weather. Instead, the City is proposing to separate the surface storm water flows from the sanitary system by constructing a new separate sanitary sewer and converting the existing combined sewer into a storm sewer, which will include elements of green infrastructure in place of the concrete storage basin. This alternative plan will save approximately 30% of the project’s cost and provide a greater environmental benefit.

            “Akron has previously completed several sewer separation projects, but this will be the first time we have integrated new green technologies into our CSO projects as part of the Akron Waterways Renewed Program,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “Our goal in the development of the Integrated Plan is to find additional opportunities to make the project more environmentally friendly and sustainable, at a more affordable cost for our citizens. This is also another opportunity to employ local people and local construction companies to work on this project.”

            Elements of the Project include:

            Project Boundaries – Merriman Rd. to Portage Path, Newport Rd. to Sunnyside Ave

            Total Area – 153 Acres

            Project Budget - $10.2 million

            Project Construction Start – Early 2016

            Construction Duration – 14 months

            A neighborhood meeting was held on January 28, 2015 to present the plan to, and receive feedback from, residents in the project area.  Residents seemed generally interested in the City’s new initiative in finding ways to incorporate green measures in what have been historically grey projects.  And, although not specifically discussed at the public meeting, the pilot project will include utilizing rain barrels to address individual downspouts and yard drains.

            This project will serve as a pilot project for the use of Green Technologies across the City as part of the Akron Waterways Renewed Program. The designers will use the experiences gained in other cities in northeast Ohio and similar climates throughout the country. This project was selected first due to its required completion dates in the current Consent Decree.       

            To follow Akron’s progress throughout our the entire Waterway Renewal Program, visit our website



For further information, contact:
stephanie york
communications director
Phone: 330-375-2345
E-mail: [email protected]

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