The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.


Akron Waterways Renewed — With DEFA’s Help

Like many cities, parts of Akron have combined sewers — pipes that carry sanitary sewage in dry weather and sanitary flows combined with storm water during wet weather. When flows rise during and after rain, combined sewer overflow (CSO) structures release untreated sanitary sewage mixed with storm water to the Little Cuyahoga River, Ohio Canal and Cuyahoga River. Under the banner, “Akron Waterways Renewed!” the City of Akron is addressing its CSO elimination needs.

Supported by loans from Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA), the city is tackling the challenging, decades-long route that was mapped in its CSO Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) and a 2009 federal Consent Decree.

Since 2004, Akron has received DEFA-administered Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) assistance of $464,000,000 for planning, design and construction of 14 sewer separation and storage basin projects, and rehabilitation of the main trunk sewer. They received the largest single loan award in WPCLF history ($254,000,000) for the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel that alone will eliminate nine CSOs. Additional loans totaling $52,000,000 are scheduled for later in 2016.

The need to meet the water quality goals of the LTCP and Consent Decree in a cost-effective way led to the negotiation an integrated plan. The Akron Integrated Plan, scheduling into 2040, uses combined sewer separation and green infrastructure alternatives (rain gardens, curbside infiltration basins and storm water treatment wetlands) to meet these goals.

Finally, through the WPCLF Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, Akron was also able to help support the financing of five wetland and stream restoration projects totaling $5,500,000 in Akron, Columbus, Lucas County and Portage County.

If you would like more information about our various DEFA funding assistance opportunities, please call us at (800) 329-7518.

  “(Akron developed) a plan that met our regulatory requirements while developing alternative projects that provided equal or better environmental protection at a more affordable cost.” - John Moore, Akron Director of Public Service 
1.5 million gallon combined sewage storage basin under construction.