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Water Quality And Efficiency

Stormwater (rain and snow) flushes material into storm drains, including trash, dirt, oil and other pollutants. Some stormwater goes to water treatment facilities and is treated and released into Lake Erie, clean and clear. However, when rains are heavy sewers can overflow, sending untreated water - including raw sewage and other pollutants - directly into the lake. An increase in the frequency of storms, as predicted for northeast Ohio in the future, means there will be more stormwater to manage.

Stormwater management practices are used to delay, capture, store, treat, or infiltrate stormwater runoff. Residents and businesses are encouraged to consider a variety of strategies to help sustain a dependable supply of clean, safe drinking water. Examples include the use of water efficient technologies (low flow toilets, waterless urinals, etc.), rain barrels, and green cleaning products.

    Example Projects     

Rain Barrel Program
City of Cleveland residents may be eligible for free rain barrels! In partnership with Cleveland Division of Water, NEORSD, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) and the Mayor’s Youth Summer Employment Program, at least 450 free rain barrels are distributed  to Cleveland residents each summer. Both the residents and YOU youth employees are educated about the Lake Erie Watershed, stormwater capture, and other aspects of water sustainability. Rain gardens have also been established in several locations to capture stormwater and educate residents, businesses and other organizations.

A rain barrel is a form of stormwater management that collects rainwater by diverting some of the water from your downspout into the barrel. The collected water can be used for various purposes, such as watering gardens/lawns or washing cars. Up to 40% of summer water use is for irrigation, so the use of rain barrels is an important contribution to water efficiency.

Water Cycle Project
The Water Cycle Project is also part of the Mayor’s annual Youth Summer Employment Program. This valuable component of the summer work experience for 14 to 18 year olds teaches the importance of one of our greatest natural resources, Lake Erie. Students complete work in areas of science and environment as they collect sand, air and water data and perform lab experiments. Those requiring more information on this project are asked to contact Wanda Dobbins at 216. 664.2444 ext. 5676.

Office of Sustainability
Jenita McGowan, Chief
601 Lakeside Ave. Room 227
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

P: 216.664.2455
F: 216.664.2378
Ohio Relay: 711

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Mission Statement


The Office of Sustainability leverages Cleveland's wealth of assets by collaborating with the community to improve the economic, environmental, and social well-being of its citizens. To lead by example, the Office develops and implements policies and practices with City departments to embrace a culture of sustainability.

City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability