The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) has entered into a settlement with U.S. EPA to fix its combined sewer overflow issues (CSOs). Included in the settlement is a provision which requires NEORSD to spend $42 million in eight years to eliminate 44 million gallons of storm water from entering its sewer system. This portion of the settlement is known as the "Green Infrastructure" component.
At the same time NEORSD entered its settlement with U.S. EPA on CSOs, it has enacted its regional stormwater fee which will begin charging businesses a fee for stormwater that it sends to its collection system. The fee is meant to create a strong incentive for businesses to implement stormwater projects that will reduce flow to the system.
The Sewer District is performing a large feasibility study to determine areas best targeted for green infrastructure projects. The District is looking at using the many vacant lots (estimated around 6,000) to possibly perform projects. (See, "Turning huge vacant lots into stormwater areas and neighborhood centerpieces" from GreenCityBlueLake)
Hopefully the District will also see this as an opportunity to partner with businesses who will soon be experiencing the pain of another fee (tax) on their business. Using the money not just on vacant lots, but with area businesses can help soften the blow of the fee.
If a businesses is going to qualify for a portion of the $42 million in funding available for the NEORSD Green Infrastructure program you must:
- Be in an area the District is targeting for reducing stormwater flow into its collection system;
- Eliminate flow that is currently getting into the collection system; and/or
- For new development projects- go beyond the stormwater controls currently planned
- Must also agree to provide NEORSD access to the project area if its on your property.