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Akron Sewer Deal Challenged By Judge

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The more than half-a-billion-dollar plan to limit how much raw sewage overflows into the Cuyahoga River from Akron's sewer system may be in trouble. Tim Rudell has more on how a deal years in the making may be blocked by a federal judge.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm

U.S. District Judge John Adams said in a hearing this week that he has grave doubts about a settlement reached by Akron, U.S. and state authorities to rebuild the city's sewer system.

The plan would better control storm overflows that force raw sewage into Northeast Ohio waterways. Adams must approve the settlement and is expected to rule in the next sixty days. John Shaw is a forensic engineer specializing in waste water issues, he says the judge won't directly change the plan.

John Shaw:
"What he can do is say no and here's why. Then the parties can regroup and bring it back for a thumbs up or thumbs down. Or the judge could say "no" and go straight to trial"

Under the deal, Akron would build massive holding basins so that by twenty-twenty-eight, overflows would be cut down to a maximum of 12 a year. The judge is concerned about the time involved, and the lack of a total solution. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and EPA reached a tentative agreement on a similar deal last month. For Ohio Public Radio, I'm Tim Rudell.

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