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Wally Warehouse Wally Warehouse
Wally Waterdrop's educational resources

Our history and our heritage: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District 1972-2007
[PDF download, 22mb, 56 pages, lots of photos]


Prior to 1972, the City of Cleveland owned and operated the three major wastewater treatment plants and their tributary intercepting sewers, which continue to provide for the conveyance, treatment and disposal of the wastewater from Cleveland and many surrounding communities. These facilities were operated by the Division of Water Pollution Control of the Cleveland Department of Public Utilities.

Operations of the Division of Water Pollution Control were financed through the sewer service charges collected from both suburban and Cleveland customers. The suburban charges were developed on a utility rate basis, with rate increments to cover operation and maintenance costs, depreciation, and return on investment made by Cleveland in constructing the intercepting sewers and treatment plants providing service. The Cleveland charges, determined on a net cash basis, were designed to provide all additional funds required to pay current operating costs and debt service on outstanding indebtedness.


Following several years of controversy between Cleveland and the suburbs over rates at a time when State and Federal regulatory agencies were pressuring for faster progress in pollution abatement, the Cleveland Regional Sewer District was established on July 15, 1972, by Judge George McMonagle's Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Court Order. This Order settled an action brought by the Water Pollution Control Board--the predecessor to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency--against Cleveland to which the tributary suburban communities were joined. It also settled a second action brought by the suburban communities contesting sewer rate increases. The District was charged with the responsibility for planning, financing, constructing, operating and controlling wastewater treatment and disposal facilities, major interceptor sewers and other water pollution control facilities within its service area.

A living legal history of the Regional District

The initial Court Order provided that the District would acquire the treatment plants and intercepting sewers from Cleveland, and that in return the District would make an equitable equalization payment to Cleveland to provide ownership participation for suburban users.

For rate-making and financing purposes, the Court divided the District into two subdistricts. Subdistrict 1 includes all of the service area within Cleveland; Subdistrict 2 includes all the area served in the suburbs. The Court stipulated that operating expenses would be shared uniformly throughout the District, but that the capital costs for the construction of some of the then-proposed intercepting sewers would be allocated to the appropriate subdistrict. Thereafter, costs for other projects were to be shared uniformly. The cost of the equitable equalization payment was allocated entirely to Subdistrict 2.

In 1979, the name of the District was changed to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.


The District is governed by its Board of Trustees. The Board consists of seven Trustees, each of whom serves a five-year term, appointed as follows: (i) two by the Mayor of the City of Cleveland; (ii) two by the Suburban Council of Governments (the "Suburban Council") comprised of representatives of all the suburban communities served by the system; (iii) one by the Cuyahoga County Council; (iv) one by the appointing authority of the subdistrict with the greatest sewage flow (currently the Mayor of the City of Cleveland); (v) and one by the appointing authority of the subdistrict with the greatest population (currently the Suburban Council). Accordingly, the Mayor of the City of Cleveland and Suburban Council each currently appoint three members of the Board.