- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - The first of several natural landscaping projects aimed at reducing sewage overflows into Lake Erie were highlighted in northeast Ohio this week.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District officials say the three sites in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood will use natural landscaping rather than underground pipes to absorb rainwater. The Northeast Ohio Media Group reported (http://bit.ly/1wNcbin) the sites will feature a basin to collect rain water as well as mulch beds and vegetation. The project will keep an estimated 200,000 gallons of stormwater out of the sewer system each year.

The first three landscaping sites are among 10 planned “green” projects that officials expect will cost $82 million.

“The hope here is to get a lot of good information from this project, so we can repeat it in a lot of other neighborhoods,” said Kellie Rotunno, director of engineering and construction for the sewer district.

The landscaping sites are components of the sewer district’s $3 billion effort to create underground storage tunnels to keep storm runoff from flooding sewers and sending untreated sewage into the lake.

Representatives from utilities across the country were in Cleveland Monday for an industry conference. Sewer District Executive Director Julius Ciaccia said those industry representatives will be watching the project with interest.

The green sites are expected to be completed by 2019.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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