Brook Park City Council will continue to discuss available Cuyahoga County options that could help to alleviate residential flooding. (Beth Mlady/special to
BROOK PARK, Ohio — To supplement efforts already under way in Brook Park to stem residential basement flooding, city officials recently heard Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works representatives explain services available to help keep municipalities’ sewer lines clear.
While a retention basin is currently under construction in Wedo Park to collect storm water and city workers frequently use sewer vacuum equipment to enable sanitary waste to flow unimpeded through the system, Mayor Ed Orcutt believes more needs to proactively take place.
He told City Council at its Sept. 19 caucus that the city’s preventative maintenance program, which includes a Vactor (sewer vacuum truck), high-pressure water jetting and clean-outs of catch basins, takes approximately 30 months to cycle across the entire city.
“We’ve found we’re going to have to speed that up,” Orcutt said, recalling recent 100- and 200-year storms and the associated flooding they caused.
“The standard for storm and sanitary (sewers) today vs. 1959 is much different,” he said. “We probably have pipes that are not large enough to adequately handle some of these heavy rains, so we need to pick up the preventative maintenance portion of this.”
Director of Public Works Michael Dever described “main line sewer cleaning” as the county’s first “frontline of activity” undertaken for the 38 communities it currently serves.
Other county services include digital video sewer inspections, storm sewer maintenance, clearing residential clean-outs, and smoke and dye testing to check for storm water infiltration into sanitary sewer lines.
To accumulate a funding reserve to pay for services, county calculations are based on a city’s overall average residential front footage. For example, Dever said Brook Park’s average is 70 linear feet. Thus, a $1 charge per linear foot on each homeowner’s property tax duplicate (i.e. a $70 annual impact) would equate to $557,000 generated annually for additional county sewer services.
A $1.50 assessment (i.e. $105 impact) would generate $835,000, while $2 would generate $1.1 million and cost the resident $140 per year.
“That money would be set aside, and as we provide services in the community, we would draw down from those dollars,” Dever said, noting that the Brook Park Service Department and city engineer would triage issues before escalating them to the county for action.
Orcutt estimated that he would need to hire 10 people and purchase an additional Vactor, at a total cost of more than $1 million, if the city decides not to pursue any county services.
No council action was taken at the caucus, and discussions will continue.
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