Integrated Plan

In December, 2013, the City began taking advantage of new U.S. EPA policies that allow cities to develop an “Integrated Plan.” 

Such plans allow options including “green infrastructure solutions” that make CSO remediation more sustainable, and in some instances more affordable. For example, catching falling rainwater at its source, community gardens and development of wetlands are environmental-friendly solutions, and many times cheaper to construct.

The City had selected the international consulting firm MWH Global to develop an Integrated Plan to meet federal clean water standards. MWH Global has significant experience in developing long-term control plans with the U.S. EPA , and has managed projects in a number of U.S. cities to correct combined sewer overflows, including Indianapolis – the first city in the nation to modify its agreement with the EPA to include increased environmental benefits for less cost, saving the city of Indianapolis $740 million.

The City of Akron submitted an Integrated Plan to the EPA in August of 2015 to modify the current LTCP. The Integrated Plan is intended to help streamline the projects that need to be done, to help save the community money, while still achieving the highest available water quality.

The Integrated Plan proposes to decrease the amount of storage basins from ten down to five, to increase the amount of sewer separations from five to thirteen with added green infrastructure, go from two tunnels to one – all of which could potentially save the City approximately $300 million. Additionally, the City is seeking approval to stretch the timeline from completion in 2027 to completion in 2040.

The Integrated Plan also proposes to add green infrastructure elements, such as rain gardens, bump-ins, bio-detainment ponds, and other green initiatives to help achieve water quality standards. Merriman Separation – Green Project (CSO Rack 36) will be the first area to receive green infrastructure, with both bump-ins and a centralized constructed storm water wetland basin. Middlebury Separation – Green Project (CSO Rack 5&7) will be next with a constructed stormwater wetland basin, and North Hill Separation – Green Project (CSO Rack 22) will follow shortly thereafter with a constructed stormwater wetland. The Merriman and Middlebury projects will eliminate the CSO. The North Hill project will control the CSOs to no overflows in the modeled typical year.