Debris jam (not a summer concert series) brings a band together

Clearing a blockage along Cuyahoga River sometimes requires a little help from friends

In early July, heavy rains caused huge amounts of debris to build up on the Cuyahoga River in the industrial Flats area. Branches, bottles, and rubbish washing down from surges upstream had become caught and collected under a trestle, posing potential problems.

Our Stormwater Inspection & Maintenance team responded to a request from ArcelorMittal to address it.

“Even in normal conditions, the bridge supports tend to collect material there,” explained SWIM Project Coordinator Mark Hornyak. “But that first week in July, the river was 100% blocked.” Blockages can affect stream flow and water quality and also pose risks to infrastructure and people downstream.

Multiple agencies, including the Port of Cleveland, coordinated to remove over 1,000 cubic yards of debris. And when dump trucks hold about 20 cubic yards per load? That’s a lot of debris.

Using a barge specially fabricated for the project, contractors spent a week breaking up and loosening the material that had collected and pushed it downstream against a trash boom where it was collected and removed for proper disposal, including recycling wherever possible: Much of the woody debris is turned into mulch.

Another pic conveys the extent of the woody debris blockage. Credit @neorsd Mark Hornyak.
Port of Cleveland helps stabilize a trash boom to collect debris cleared from the blockage. Credit @neorsd Mark Hornyak.

And also can we make the Debris Jam concert series happen? Asking for a friend.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

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Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH

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