Northern Ohio, Algae Blooms, and Lake Erie Legislation

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Northern Ohio, Algae Blooms, and Lake Erie Legislation

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What’s a blog? That simple question is difficult for me to answer.

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A beautiful view of Lake Erie from Lorain, Ohio.

For the last several months many of my key staff members and I have struggled with the idea of whether to use a blog as another way to communicate with our employees and customers.

Northwestern Water & Sewer District has been using several other social media options such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate and provide customer service in our mobile, technology-driven world.

This blog is simply a continuation of that effort.

I laugh at the thought of who is really interested in hearing from me.

However I have to say that topics related to water and sewer, to other utilities, and to legislation that affects our environment are important to discuss, especially in Northern Ohio.

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I am proud to be the President of Northwestern Water & Sewer District, and we have much knowledge and many years of experience in this field and we should share this content for everyone’s benefit – for our customers, for our employees, and for other utilities, organizations, and individuals who care about our region and its environment.

Many years ago a rock singer named David Bowie had a song that said let’s dance and put on our dancing shoes so with that in mind let’s blog and put it on the internet. We will try to provide timely, interesting information on a regular basis.

For me and my senior managers, we hope you enjoy the product.

My first entry is an overview of my day today (March 20, 2015).

I am traveling to a meeting in Columbus with eight to 10 other water and sewer providers in Ohio that meet on a regular basis to discuss common issues. This group ranges from smaller utilities of a few hundred users to the Northeastern Sewer District, which serves a metropolitan area of over one million customers.

Our primary topic today is legislation that is pending at the state level called Senate Bill One or Senate Bill 52 or House Bill 58, all of which are very well-intentioned efforts by the state legislators to address Lake Erie water quality issues.

As most folks know, these issues culminated in a Lake Erie algae bloom problem during August 2014.algae

The legislative efforts will address problems from a big, cultural/society-wide level as well as at the level of governmental agencies, private homes, and commercial practices here in our region.

Our concern is that we will be heavily impacted by new rules that will make it more difficult and more expensive to upgrade by going to larger regional wastewater treatment plants that we would own and operate. We are trying to find a middle ground in this new legislation that is both environmentally sound and economically prudent for our customers.

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It was a day full of meaningful discussion at our meeting.

Today’s meeting will bring together both attorneys and operators as well as managers of various systems to talk about where and how this legislation will affect them individually. Our viewpoints will vary substantially because some have smaller sewer plants yet to be affected, whereas others – such as Northeastern – are very large and already very much affected.

These quiet efforts may surface when Northwestern Water & Sewer District hosts our Open House on May 3rd of this year. Congressman Latta from the federal level and our state legislators Randy Gardner and Tim Brown will update our customers during that afternoon.


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We all hope the legislative efforts to improve Lake Erie continue and work for all of us for the long-term, for our children and generations to come. We hope you can attend our Open House event!