The expected cost savings, if approved, for using green over grey in Akron, Ohio, is $10 million
The city of Akron, Ohio, has proposed a sewer rehabilitation and green infrastructure plan to manage storm water and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Under a 2014 agreement with the U.S. EPA, the city agreed to bring its sewer system into compliance of the Clean Water Act by 2028. CSOs have been polluting the Cuyahoga River during rain events, leading the city to seek a better solution.
According to northeast Ohio news source The Plain Dealer, the city’s original plan proposed under the Akron Waterways Renewed sewer project incorporated a 1.9 million gal storm water basin with an estimated price tag of $20 million. A new proposed design is estimated to cost $10 million, half of the original storm water basin cost. By incorporating a combination of green infrastructure and an expanded sewer pipe, the city hopes to reduce CSOs. The project would involve installing green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, along key intersections throughout the city. Additionally, an underground sewer pipe would be expanded from 15 in. to 42 in., in order to handle larger flows of storm water runoff.
Moving forward, the city is working with the EPA and U.S. Department of Justice to obtain final approval for the green infrastructure design. The city must prove to the agencies that the green alternative will provide the same storm water management benefits as the original grey version incorporating a basin.