CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District posted a public advisory at Edgewater Beach on this week.
The advisory was posted as a result of a combined sewer overflow event at Edgewater which discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie during Monday night's heavy rain event. Visitors - particularly children, the elderly and those in ill health - are advised to avoid contact with the water and debris.
Check recreational water conditions HERE
People were still at the beach, taking advantage of the nice weather. Some even let their children play in the water.
"Just their feet," said mother Brittni Hughes. "I don't want their heads going anywhere near or above their waist." Hughes added that she plans to rinse off the kids after they get out of the lake.
Since 1972, the Sewer District has reduced the volume of CSO by half - from 10 billion gallons to 5 billions gallons - and continues efforts to reduce CSO from entering local waterways. For example, the Mill Creek Tunnel, which is near completion, will be able to contain 75 million gallons of raw sewage when fully on-line, redirecting sewage to the Sewer District's Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant as opposed to the region's local waterways.
Additionally, the Sewer District has a $3 billion plan to continue constructing additional tunnels throughout Greater Cleveland, further reducing the discharge of raw sewage into local waterways. Other Midwest cities, with similar combined sewer infrastructure, are also addressing combined sewer overflow issues.
Throughout the mid-1970s, the combined sewer outfall at Edgewater Beach discharged raw sewage into Lake Erie approximately 40 to 50 times per year. However, because of the Sewer District's improvements to aging infrastructure, the Edgewater combined sewer overflow discharges have significantly decreased: the overflow, on average, the outfall discharges only once every two years.
The Sewer District will test Lake Erie waters near Edgewater Beach a minimum of twice daily and notify local officials as soon as the swimming advisory can be lifted.