Infrastructure Week is a national week of events, media coverage, and education and advocacy efforts, set to shine a spotlight on infrastructure as a critical issue that affects everyone. This year’s Infrastructure Week theme is Time to Build – “urging leaders and citizens to highlight the state of our nation’s infrastructure and encourage policymakers to invest in the projects, technologies, and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous, and safe.”
Cleveland, like most other older cities, is facing an inevitable aging of its infrastructure. Fortunately, Cleveland Water is reinvesting in the water mains in the system as a proactive measure against the increased main breaks and infrastructure deterioration that can interrupt water service and inconvenience customers and businesses throughout the nearly 80 communities in the Cleveland Water system.
Over the past 30 years, Cleveland Water has spent more than $1.6 billion modernizing our treatment plants, water tanks and towers, and some of our water mains. In 2013, our $650 million Plant Enhancement Program was completed, providing major upgrades to our treatment plants. Now, we are shifting the focus of our Capital Improvement Program to the 5,300 miles of water mains in the Cleveland Water system.
Over the next five years, we plan to invest approximately $26 million a year on replacing aging infrastructure buried underground. This means, between 2017 and 2021, we plan to spend nearly $133.7 million upgrading our water mains which are often out of sight and out of mind to the general public.
This includes water main improvement projects in the City of Cleveland and our suburban communities as a part of our successful Suburban Water Main Renewal Program. Through the first ten years of this program, nearly $112 million has been invested in communities that have signed up for the program, with 79 miles of mains completed and 97 miles of mains approved for upgrade or replacement.
Northeast Ohio is blessed with a great and ample source of water – Lake Erie – but it takes a lot of work and infrastructure to deliver it to our 1.4 million customers. We take our role as steward of one of our region’s major assets seriously, and will continue to treat and deliver high quality drinking water to our customers. For more information on what it takes to treat and distribute water, click here.