|(02/27/07) - The City of Akron received a
2007 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of
Ohio (ACEC) as part of their 2007 Engineering
Excellence Awards for the Rack 40/31 CSO Elimination Project at a ceremony last week.
The completion last fall of Akrons huge wastewater storage
basin - which a local news reporter suggested "looks like a Bunyanesque swimming
pool" - is already having a significant impact on water quality in local rivers,
according to local officials and environmental advocates.
As big as a football field and 30
feet deep, the basin has a capacity of 9.5 million gallons. It represents a major first
step by the city toward reducing the amount of untreated wastewater that spills into the
Cuyahoga and Little Cuyahoga rivers when the citys sewer system or treatment plan is
overloaded by a heavy rain or snow melt.
Construction of the basin
required 15,000 cubic yards of concrete - or 30,000 tons - plus 1,400 tons of reinforcing
steel. The floor of the basin is 43 inches thick and the walls are 6 feet thick at the
bottom and 18 inches thick at the top. To prevent groundwater pressure from floating the
basin, 1,035 anchors extend through the floor into the ground at depths ranging from 80 to
The basin incorporates Racks 40, 31 and 30, old combined sewer
overflows that were the citys most serious pollution problems. When a major storm
occurs, wastewater that would have spilled out of the overflows and into the Little
Cuyahoga River is routed into the basin via a new 12-foot diameter, 700-foot-long
pipeline, where it is stored until it can be pumped back to the plant for treatment. An
automated flushing system cleans the basin after it has been drained and a sophisticated
communications system including flow sensors and security cameras allows city employees to
operate the basin remotely from the treatment plant.