Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project


Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project 

The Lakewood Interceptor Project is a key element of the City of Lakewood’s Clean Water Lakewood program, which is working towards modernizing our sewer system to protect the natural environment and meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. 

The project will reline the large, combined sewer interceptor that transports flow from the local, street-level collection system from most of the city to the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant. There, the flow is treated to meet rigid environmental standards and is safely released back into the environment offshore in Lake Erie.

Our current combined sewer design was common a century ago, and under most circumstances, transports all waste to the treatment plant. However, during heavy rain or snow-melt events, this infrastructure was designed to overflow some untreated waste mixed with stormwater  into the environment via permitted outfalls, which can pollute our community waters. 

The interceptor tunnel is the critical backbone of the city’s sewer system.  It is buried below Edgewater Drive at the east end of the city at West 117th Street and runs west before turning south beneath West Clifton and onto the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The project will require rebuilt and new vertical access points from the surface.  These access shafts are being identified along the interceptor, and in all cases, will be situated within the existing right-of-way.  This is a significant construction project, requiring large equipment and considerable material.

We do not anticipate needing access to private property, but work areas will require lane shifts and other traffic configuration adjustments. We will contact impacted areas and properties directly to provide additional, area-specific information.   

The Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project is a critical part of the Lakewood’s sustained reinvestment for infrastructure renewal in the 21st century.

  • Learn more about the Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project+-

    Below are frequently asked questions about the Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation project. These provide additional information about what the project will do, how it will benefit the community, and impacts during the project. 

  • What is the Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel Rehabilitation Project?+-

    The Lakewood Interceptor Project is part of Clean Water Lakewood—a major effort by the City of Lakewood to modernize our combined sewer system. Clean Water Lakewood projects help us protect the natural environment and meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. This project will reline the large combined sewer interceptor that collects wastewater from most of the city and sends it to the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant. There, it is treated to meet rigid environmental standards and safely released back into the environment offshore in Lake Erie.

  • What is a Combined Sewer and Combined Sewer Overflow?+-

    Combined Sewers are underground pipes and tunnels that gather wastewater from homes and businesses and rainwater and snow-melt from roofs and driveways. This water is combined as it flows to Lakewood’s wastewater treatment plant.  

    This design was common a century ago and, under normal circumstances, helps keep pollution out of the Rocky River and Lake Erie. During heavy rain or snow events, however, this infrastructure was designed to overflow via designated overflows, which can discharge pollutants to our community waters.

    Combined Sewer Overflows are required under the federal Clean Water Act to be controlled to only activate in limited circumstances.  This is one reason why the City of Lakewood is investing in several important projects to improve system performance.

  • What is the Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel?+-

    The Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel, pictured right, could be considered the backbone of our community’s wastewater treatment system. More than 3.5 miles long—approximately 19,000 feet—it collects wastewater from about 77% of the city and sends it to the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant. With some sections of the more than 42-inch-wide tunnel more than 100 years old, it has served our community well beyond its useful life. Now it is time for major rehabilitation work to ensure it can perform at a high level for the next hundred years.

  • Where is the interceptor located? +-

    This major piece of infrastructure is buried beneath Edgewater Drive at a depth of approximately 20 feet at the east end of the city at West 117th Street to a depth of nearly 100 feet at the west end of the city as it turns south and runs beneath West Clifton and onto the Lakewood Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

  • Why is the interceptor important? +-

    The Interceptor Tunnel collects wastewater, rainwater, and snowmelt that would otherwise flow untreated into Lake Erie – reducing water quality, increasing pollution levels, and negatively impacting public and environmental health.  

  • Why does it need to be rehabilitated? +-

    While it has been maintained over the years, the Lakewood Interceptor Tunnel has reached the end of its useful life. Portions of it still perform well, while many others create constant challenges for the professionals who operate our wastewater treatment system. The cost of constant ongoing repairs is significant, so modernization is necessary. 

  • What does rehabilitation involve?+-

    In 2022, engineers and technicians started work on cleaning, televising, and gathering profiles of the interceptor to inform engineering and design work. Through this analysis, they are recommending a variety of innovative methods to rehabilitate the structure. 

    Gone are the days when miles of deep trenching – and incredible levels of disruption – were required to install and repair lines like these. Today, engineers and contractors anticipate being able to do much of the work below ground, accessing the structure from a dozen vertical access points. Through a process called slip lining and other modern techniques, the tunnel will serve Lakewood residents well for the next 100 years. 

  • What does this mean for people living along the project?+-

    Vertical access points are being identified all along the interceptor, and in all cases will be situated within the existing right-of-way. We do not anticipate needing access to private property, but work areas will require lane shifts and other traffic configuration adjustments. Street parking in the area may be impacted when lane shifts and traffic configurations are modified, and there will be instances where pedestrian detours will be put into place. Work areas will be secured for public safety using concrete barriers and fencing. 

    In some areas, things may smell a little bit different because shafts will be opened. BMPs will be used to minimize odors as much as is practicable. The smell is not harmful to the people around it. By and large, we do not anticipate changing access to the area or the operations of daily life.  

  • What else can you tell me about the access points?+-

    Access points will typically be 30 feet by 100 feet, with 20-foot in-diameter access shafts within that footprint. These points will be finalized before construction begins in 2023.  

    The contractor will use best management practices to minimize odors as much as practicable. Work areas will be secured for public safety using concrete barriers and fencing. 

    Each access point will have a site-specific plan with mitigation efforts to minimize inconvenience. Emergency services, snow plowing, busing, waste hauling, deliveries, mail service, etc., will be carefully coordinated to minimize disruptions.  

    A significant component of this project is a comprehensive effort to keep neighbors informed so those impacted by construction will receive advance notice and detailed information about temporary changes to their neighborhood. 

  • What will this project cost, and how long will construction last?+-

    The project itself is estimated at $24 million, and the city has secured American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Ohio Public Works Commission funding. Additional funding is being sought through other sources.  

    Construction will take place in 2023-2025. A variety of factors could contribute to schedule changes, but stakeholders will be kept advised of local impacts. Construction will be phased starting at the west end of the interceptor and is planned to generally work east to completion. Construction durations at individual access points will vary – more information will be provided when available. 

  • Where can I go for more information?+-

    Contact the City Engineer, Mark Papke, at 216.529.6807 or via email at mark.papke@lakewoodoh.net, and look for regular project information and updates across the city’s social media channels.