CLEVELAND - The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board adopted its agreement with the U.S. EPA during its board meeting at district headquarters on Thursday.
The plan was approved by a 5 to 2 vote, with Parma Mayor Dean Depiero and Middleburg Heights Mayor Gary Starr voting "no."
Starr has been against the quick approval of the plan in recent months, asking the board to wait another year to study the EPA plan more carefully.
The agreement calls for nearly $3 billion in required sewer improvements over the next 25 years. These are improvements sewer officials said must be made to meet requirements demanded by the federal Clean Water Act.
If approved by the sewer district board, the EPA agreement will likely produce a 13 to 15 percent annual sewer rate hike over the first seven to 10 years.
Details of the EPA agreement can be found on the Northeast Ohio regional Sewer District website at this address: www.neorsd.org/cleanlake
"The district is in violation of federal law because it continues to dump 4.5 billion gallons of untreated sewage into Lake Erie," said sewer district executive director Julius Ciaccia. "In the past 10 years, 2 billion in improvements have cut the amount of sewage dumped in to the lake in half, but more improvements need to be made.
Concerned residents have already voiced their concerns about the proposed sewer rate increase during a series of public hearings.
Sewer officials said a 9 percent rate increase has already been approved for 2011, but the rate hike associated with the approval of the EPA agreement won't be up for a vote until this coming spring.
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