What is Project Clean Rivers?
Project Clean Rivers simply refers to the various initiatives underway and services provided by Public Utilities to protect and improve water quality in the Columbus metropolitan area. The entire community, including wildlife, will benefit from Project Clean Rivers; we all depend on clean water.
Wet Weather Management Plan
The Wet Weather Management Plan (WWMP) was developed in 2005 and approved by the Ohio EPA in 2008. The plan includes numerous sewer and treatment plant capital improvements, some of a massive scale, to address the additional sewer capacity and treatment needs in order to better handle wet weather events and prevent sewer overflows.
Other improvements will be of a smaller scale, such as the inflow and infiltration sewer studies being done in many Columbus neighborhoods, which often lead to rehabilitation of the sewers through trenchless technology. Proactive maintenance and initiatives such as the Fats, Oils and Grease Program (FOG) also act to reduce sewer overflows into local waterways.
Upgrades to the city's sewer infrastructure will be completed over a 40-year period. For more information on the WWMP, please review our brochure or fact sheet. Learn more about Alternative Solutions Developing and Understanding our Current Sewer System.
Stormwater Management plays a key role in protecting water quality by setting policies on stormwater management, best management practices and a sediment erosion control programs for construction sites. The section oversees functions that ensure the city's compliance with their stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit with the Ohio EPA.
Protecting the Source of Our Drinking Water
Public Utilities provides drinking water to over one million people in Franklin and surrounding counties. The Watershed Management Section has the responsibility of maintaining high quality source water at Griggs, Hoover and O’Shaughnessy reservoirs. The entire community benefits from, and has a role to play, in protecting the source of our drinking water.
Water Quality Monitoring
We test for pollutants in various waterways and in the effluent discharged from the city's two wastewater treatment plants. The Surveillance Lab tests over 50,000 parameters per year for pollutants to support the plants’ compliance with clean water regulations and assists the Industrial Waste Pre-Treatment program staff. The Water Quality Assurance Laboratory staff also test for certain parameters, performing over 40,000 analyses on both finished and source water. More about Drinking Water Quality Monitoring.
Industrial Waste Pretreatment program
The Industrial Waste Pretreatment Section monitors local industrial users who discharge wastewater to ensure compliance with clean water goals. Approximately 3,000 samples are gathered per year to monitor over 100 permitted industries. Staff also oversee the Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Control program.
"We All Live Downstream"
This non-point source water pollution public education program includes the "No Dumping, Drains to Rivers" storm drain marking project, print literature, a phone hotline and public service announcements. The program emphasizes the connection of daily activities to water pollution. View our Public Service Announcement (large file).
Central Ohio River Pride
This regional watershed clean-up in observance of the National River Cleanup Week is a great way for residents to get involved in protecting their waterways.
Following a series of Public Advisory Group sessions that were held from 2003- 2004, three public meetings were held in 2004 - 2005 at the Public Utilities Complex. Various other public presentations were provided at City Council Public Utilities Committee meetings where the public could provide input. Presentations were also made to various civic associations and area commissions.
Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Study
The Wet Weather Management Plan will invest $2.5 billion over the next 40 years for sewer infrastructure improvements that will make our waterways cleaner and our city healthier for all. During the next 40 years, the city also will continue to improve existing sewers in a driving park, Clintonville and many other Columbus neighborhoods. The total investment for these improvements on top of the Wet Weather Management Plan will be $5.4 billion.
But the investment will reap economic benefits for Columbus residents. The Department of Public Utilities asked the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce to determine the extent of these economic benefits. This independent third party study by the Chamber found the city will receive more than two dollars back for every one dollars invested, resulting in an average of 2,900 jobs annually. View the Economic Impact of City of Columbus Wet Weather Management Plan.
An affordability analysis was conducted by a city consultant to determine the community's ability to pay for the Wet Weather Management Plan capital improvement projects. View the final Affordability Analysis report, included in the plan.
For more information on Project Clean Rivers please e-mail DOSD or call (614) 645-7175.