All Akron Student Engineering Program Student Profile

The All Akron Student Engineering Program summer internship is in full swing! We will begin highlighting some of our students over the next few weeks. Check back to see a glimpse of Akron's future as we highlight some of Akron's best and brightest!

 

Davyan Caldwell

 

My name is DaVyan Caldwell and I am partnered with G. Stephens, Inc. for a 4 week internship. This experience has been one of the best I have encountered. I have learned how to make schedules, rename documents and organize them, I have attended meetings, and I've gone on site visits. I also took a tour of the Akron Water Supply Plant. The Incredible staff I've had the pleasure to work with has made me feel welcomed and I will not forget this experience.

A Bird's Eye View

The Akron Waterways Renewed! program is a monumental undertaking.

Fortunately for us, the residents here in Akron seem to have a general interest in what's going on in our community. That interest makes it easier for us to spread the word and keep everyone informed.

When we launched this website, the goal was to use it as a tool to provide up-to-date information on what's happening with the program.

Today, we are upping the ante on "up-to-date" with live, around-the-clock streaming video of the Camp Brook Storage Basin (CSO Rack 12) and OCIT-1 construction sites.

This feature can be accessed below, or by using the interactive "Construction" tab from the AWR! homepage.

Camp Brook (CSO Rack 12)

OCIT-1

 

Where Does the Rain Go?

Img 5263Downtown Akron after a thunderstorm

We’re seeing a lot of rain here in downtown Akron. Have you ever looked out the window and asked yourself, “Where does it all  go?”

So, where DOES it go?

Rain that falls on our yards, streets, sidewalks, and driveways flows to the lowest point that it can. Hopefully that’s a storm sewer or driveway drain that ties into a storm sewer. It will travel through the storm sewer system to a receiving waterway, eventually making its way to the Cuyahoga River, Little Cuyahoga River, Ohio & Erie Canal or to the Water Reclamation Facility.

The rain on the roof trickles down to spouting, and make its way (hopefully) to the storm sewer as well.

What are some issues that this water can cause?

Wet Basements

If a lawn or driveway isn’t graded properly, water could collect at the walls of a home and find its way into the foundation, leading to a soggy basement. Clogged spouting could lead to a wet basement as well. If your spouting overflows when it rains, or if you have long icicles hanging from it in the winter, it may need to be cleared out. This is something that should be done a few times a year. Typically, trees are to blame for clogged spouting. Seeds in the spring and leaves in the fall land in the gutters and prevent water from flowing through them freely. Cleaning them out typically requires climbing a ladder. If you don’t feel safe doing this on your own, find someone who can help you or do it for you.

Combined Sewer Overflows

In a combined sewer system, high volumes of water may contribute to a combined sewer overflow, where clean water from rain and melting snow mixes with sewage from sanitary sewers. If the volume exceeds the capacity of the system, it overflows into a receiving waterway. The main goal of the Akron Waterways Renewed! program is to update our sewer system to help control these overflows. You can learn more about combined sewers and overflows here.

Clean Water Disconnects

Img 5269 Storm sewers collect surface water during wet weather

Another issue that could arise is clean water ending up in the sanitary sewer. This happens when clean water connections, such as driveway drains and spouting, are connected to the wrong sewer system; in this case, the sanitary sewer. The extra water in the sanitary sewer could contribute to an overflow. The potential for this overflow could be reduced if the water were to flow into the storm sewer instead of the sanitary sewer. Drains that still flow to the sanitary sewer instead of a storm sewer are more common in areas where there used to be a combined sewer but has since been separated.

This is currently an issue in Akron’s Merriman, Middlebury, and North Hill neighborhoods. New storm sewers are being constructed or considered in these neighborhoods as part of the AWR! program. The existing combined sewer will be separated and the storm water will drain to a storm sewer instead of the sanitary sewer. The City is conducting dye testing in these areas to verify that everything is flowing to the right place. Dye testing is non-invasive and testers won’t need to enter a home unless there is a sump pump in the basement. The City is bearing the cost of the testing and any improvements that need to be made to address the issue. You can read more about dye testing here.

If you have any questions about dye testing or the Akron Waterways Renewed! Program in general, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email at communications@akronwaterwaysrenewed.com.

New Towpath Trail Route

In our latest video blog, we take a look at the new route of the Towpath Trail during the construction of the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel!

Wilbeth Wetlands Project

We're happy to share with our readers the following information regarding the Wilbeth Wetlands, written by Heather Ullinger of the City of Akron Engineering Bureau.

Img 1902 Great blue herons can be found in the Wilbeth Wetlands.

City Set to Restore 74 acres of wetlands located in the City of Akron visible from the Towpath Trail

LOCATION

Between Wilbeth and Waterloo Roads, east of the Ohio & Erie Canal and the Towpath Trail

CURRENT CONDITIONS

The project area is 112 acres on three City-owned parcels.  There are 74 acres of wetlands and two streams. The wetlands are densely populated by invasive species.  Invasive species are non-native plant species that are a threat to the long-term health and sustainability of wetlands. Human activities such as urban development, farming, recreation and gardening have resulted in the introduction of many invasive species. In some cases, those species end up competing with native species and can take over large areas of land. This lack of diversity limits the ability for wetlands to support a wide variety of plant and animals, which in turn reduces the quality of the wetlands.

HISTORY

The wetlands in this area have been evolving for more than 100 years. This area once consisted of one large wetland complex, but over the last 100 years, this complex was slowly divided into many disconnected wetlands through soil mining, filling, dewatering, agriculture, and industrial use. As a result of these uses over the decades, this large wetland complex now represents more of a pond/lake wetland community rather than the boggy floodplain community that existed just a hundred years ago.

Before being transferred to the City of Akron in the 1980s, this land was owned by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and used to supply cooling water for the tire manufacturing process.  The remnants of six large diameter wells used by Firestone are currently present in the project area.  Since the wells are no longer in use, Ohio Administrative Code requires closure of these wells.  The wells will be properly abandoned as part of this project to protect groundwater quality and public safety.  A historian will be on-site to photograph and document the wells prior to removal. 

SOLUTION

Well 2Evidence of the land's previous use by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

The solution to making this wetland healthier involves first eliminating the invasive species, which will be replaced by species native to the wetlands. Along with these plantings, we will also be properly closing the six abandoned water supply wells.  The wells are closed by filling them with grout and removing all of the metal parts that can be seen above ground.  To ensure that water entering the wetlands is clean, we will be removing a storm sewer and replacing it with a natural channel to guide storm water to the wetland.  After we are finished with this work, we will protect the area with deed restrictions and environmental covenants to prevent activities that could disturb the area.

VISIBILITY

This project is located along the Towpath Trail.  Users may see construction occurring in this area.

PARTNERS

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Public Works Commission, Summit Metro Parks, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition,

Summit County Historical Society, Keep Akron Beautiful, Summit Soil & Water Conservation District, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Historic Preservation Office, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

FUNDING

The City of Akron’s Wilbeth Wetlands project is funded with $749,336 Clean Ohio and $1,750,000 Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program (WRRSP) grants.  This particular WRRSP project is funded through loan interest from our construction loan for Mud Run Pump Station Improvements.  Rather than collecting the interest on our loan, Ohio EPA advances the interest to us to pay for the wetlands project.

 

 

Happy New Year!

New Year, New Look for AWR!

If you've visited our site before, you might have noticed our new, streamlined layout. Hopefully, you will find our site more visually appealing and easier to navigate.

20151229 151145 The Ohio & Erie Canal behind Canal Park

If this is your first time visiting akronwaterwaysrenewed.com, welcome! We're excited to tell you all about our program and the positive changes we're making to Akron's infrastructure and environment.

This new year is going to be a big one for our program. At the time of this post, we have active construction on five sites (You can learn more here), including the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel, which is not only the largest project under the AWR! program, but also the largest construction project in Akron's history. You can learn more about the tunnel here.

Thank you for visiting our site, and we hope you'll come back often. We're confident that it will be a great way to stay in touch with the residents of Akron, and anyone else who's interested in our program.

Happy New Year!

Video Blog: Mustill Store

In this post we visit The Mustill Store, which overlooks Lock 15 on the Ohio and Erie Canal.