Now entering its 11th year, Toledo’s campaign to reduce pollution in local waterways from overflowing sewage will reach its peak of activity during 2012, with $100 million worth of projects under way simultaneously, officials are announcing at a news conference today.
The Toledo Waterways Initiative is the product of a consent decree handed down in 2001 by the U.S. District Court in Toledo against the city to conclude an 11-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit.
“2012 is TWI’s most active construction year in the 10-year history of the sewer remediation and storage program,” said George Robinson II, a deputy director of Toledo’s Department of Public Utilities, who is in charge of the program. “Two of the TWI projects are aimed specifically at eliminating sanitary sewer overflows, which are part of the program’s Phase One. The remaining nine projects involve reducing combined sewer overflows, as required by Phase Two of TWI’s Long Term Control Plan.
Projects have included expanding capacity at Toledo’s sewage treatment plant; separating storm drains from sanitary sewers in some neighborhoods; building underground retention basins to prevent treatment-plant overloads during peak-flow conditions from other neighborhoods; cleaning accumulated debris from existing sewage basins; manhole, pipe, and tunnel repairs, and eliminating overflow outfalls into the Maumee River, Ottawa River, and Swan Creek.
The program is scheduled for completion in 2020, by which time officials expect to have spent $521 million to clean up Toledo’s sewer system. Funding for the work has come primarily from federal loans that will be repaid through a surcharge on ratepayers' bills.