New North Royalton Wastewater Superintendent, Ed Haller, addressed City Council at a recent Utilities Committee meeting regarding pausing part of the Abbey Road Sanitary Force Main and Gravity Sewer Improvement Projects. The projects would include the conversion of on of the City’s two Wastewater Treatment Plants into a pumping station. Haller would like to revisit the plan to ensure that it is the most beneficial to the City. Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz stated that, “I just want to take a step back to feel comfortable about what we are doing. If the plan needs more evaluation, let’s do that.”
Currently, the City has Wastewater Treatment Plant “A,” located on Royalton Road, which treats mostly the southern section of the City and Wastewater Treatment Plant “B”, located on Sprague Road, which treats most of the northern section. The northeast portion of the City is treated by the Northeast Regional Sewer District. The originally proposed conversion would include the conversion of “B” Plant to a pumping station, the construction of a sewer main from “B” to “A” Plant, which would run down Abbey Road and the addition of two tanks to accommodate wet weather flow at “A” Plant. The main would be part force main and part gravity main.
Last year, Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz said that if the City kept “B” Plant as a treatment plant, it would have cost the City millions of dollars more in repair and updates, as well as the cost of the permit and personnel to keep it operating. That plant was constructed in the 1960s. “ If ‘B’ Plant stops treating the wastewater, the City would no long have to have someone there 24-7 and would no longer need a permit to operate it. Not only would the proposed plan have an impact on how the City treats wastewater, but it could potentially have an impact on economic development.”
Community Development Director Tom Jordan said that the area that would be impacted consists of about 242 acres, which is primarily zoned General Industry and Research Office. By giving those properties sewer access, it makes them more developable, especially since the widening of Rt. 82 in that area has been completed, giving a straight access to I-71. There are also 27 residential lots on Abbey Road which are currently septic that would be tied in to the sanitary sewer.
Last year, the North Royalton City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that would ultimately accept a 50/50 matching grant for the project, which was estimated to cost about $20,000,000. Another piece of legislation was also unanimously adopted that authorizes the Mayor and City Engineer to accept a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant and enter into an agreement for that project in the amount of $2,000,000. The City had received a grant in the amount of $250,000 from the Ohio Department of Development for the project design. The legislation, which was introduced by Antoskiewicz, authorizes him to sign a matching fund letter with the Ohio Department of Development, committing an investment from North Royalton in the sum of $10,000,000 in consideration for a grant in the amount of $10,000,000 from the Ohio Department of Development’s Wastewater Infrastructure 2024/2025 Grant Program. The measure was unanimously adopted by City Council.
Haller explained to Council that during a recent routine inspection from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they expressed concerns about the “B” plant conversion. He said that we have “concerns about, especially with the high flow under Infiltration and Inflow conditions where we get high flow during rain events. Right now “A” is struggling to be able to keep up with those flows. A lot of the studies that were done, and they were done well, were done based on daily flows. We just want to make sure that the peak flows are able to be handled. For now, we will continue moving forward with the gravity sewer and the installation of the high flow tank at the “A” plant to handle that additional flow and to handle what flows we currently have coming in, but, for now, we are going to pause the pump station and the conversion of the “B” plant. They know that the enterprise development project along Abbey is very important to us and they are encouraging us to maintain the course on that, so the gravity sewer that we are trying to put in, we are absolutely going to stay on course with. We are also going to be putting in the wet weather basin, the EQ tank that is going to be going in at “A” plant. But, for now, we are going to hold back a little bit on the actual conversion of the “B” plant to a pump station until we have done some more investigation.”
Ward 4 Council Rep Mary Gorjanc asked, “so where does that leave us. Wasn’t that a $20 million loan application total?” Antoskiewicz replied, “it was two-fold. It was part A and part B. B was the gravity sewers coming down Abbey, which we’re still going to move forward with. The “B” plant was the other $10 million. So right now, we’re just going to put everything on hold, let Ed do more of his research … before we want to move on with it or if we want to go in another direction.”
Council President Paul Marnecheck asked if anyone has reached out to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD)? Haller responded, “right now we have a functional system. Right now I just want to be sure to maintain that functional system, because right now about 1/5 of the City goes to the sewer district (NEORSD) and about 4/5 comes to our two wastewater treatment plants and right now it’s a working system.”
Antoskiewicz said that they are working on the paperwork for the $2 million grant already awarded and have several other grants that the City is looking at for possible funding. He did note that before the project began, the City had realized that they may have to fund the project, if no grant money could be obtained. He said that he is hoping to have the sewer line project out to bid this fall, with completion the following fall/winter. “We’re still waiting on the HUD application. Once we do that, it should be the last step before we go to bid.” He said that the sewer that will run down Abbey Road will be shortened. “It will go from south of Harbour Light, down to Rt. 82, into “A” plant.

Contributing Writer