Sustainability at Work

Water Pollution Control (WPC) is responsible for maintaining the local sanitary sewage and stormwater drainage collection systems within the city of Cleveland. As the Stormwater Manager for the City of Cleveland, WPC is charged by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with managing and supervising matters relating to the elimination, control and regulation of water pollution within the city.

Green projects are used to delay, capture, store, treat, or infiltrate stormwater so runoff does not overwhelm the sewer system and cause street and basement flooding or harm the environment.

Low-Impact Designs

A Stormwater Management Demonstration project is located at the Water Pollution Control office on Kirby Avenue. The project highlights five stormwater management best practices. The project is open for public tours. Call WPC Customer Service at 216.664.2513 to schedule a site visit.

Learn more about green infrastructure.

WPC Rain Garden

Rain Gardens

Two rain gardens cover 480 square feet of ground. The rain gardens collect and retain rainwater drained from 17,400 square feet of roof covering the WPC building. The building's downspouts were diverted from the combined sewer system to the rain gardens located along the northeast side of WPC’s warehouse. The rain gardens contain plants native to Northeast Ohio and they are accustomed to local climate changes and require minimum, if any, maintenance. The integration of the rain gardens is both functional and aesthetically appealing, while also resulting in reduction of stormwater discharged into the combined sewerage system or becoming runoff that could lead to contaminating nearby waterways.



A bioswale collects runoff from non-pervious pavement around the main entrance driveway. Prior to completion of the Stormwater Management Demonstration Project, about 9,950 square feet of parking lot drainage flowed into the Kirby Avenue drainage system, which flows to a combined sanitary sewer system. That drainage now is intercepted by the bioswale and infiltrates into the ground. The bioswale is similar to the rain gardens in that it also contains plants native to the Northeast Ohio.

Pervious Pavement

Pervious Pavement

More than 24,00 square feet of permeable pavement covers the WPC parking lots. The pavements allow rain and snow melt to absorb into the ground slowly and naturally, which decreases the amount of stormwater runoff that could overwhelm sewer pipes or cause flooding. Runoff also can harm the environment when its flow picks up contaminants on the ground, such as auto fluids and pet waste.

Water Retention Tanks

Rain Harvesting

The final element of the project is three 5,000-gallon tanks that each collect and store rainwater and snow melt for re-use. Water from the 17,400 square feet roof is used to irrigate the landscape, wash vehicles and flush toilets. In addition to its environmental benefits, the Stormwater Management Demonstration Poject helps educate the community about the use of green solutions to address stormwater runoff issues.


Stormwater System Maintenance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants Cleveland a permit to operate a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The MS4s carry stormwater runoff and sanitary sewage separately. The rainfall and snow melt carried by an MS4 is not processed through one of three waste water treatment facilities located within the City of Cleveland. Instead, it flows untreated into local waterways where it eventually reaches Lake Erie. This means that pollutants entering these storm drains can be carried to local waterways and impact local drinking water and water recreation..


Stormwater Detention 

Common stormwater management practices in urban areas are detention basins and wet detention ponds. The City of Cleveland has both.

Wet detention ponds contain water and serve a dual purpose. They collect and hold stormwater from becoming runoff, protecting waterways during severe storms and helping prevent flooding.

Dry Detention basins are surface storage structures that provide stormwater flow control by collecting rain and then slowly releasing it back so it will not overwhelm sewers or cause flooding. Detention basins also filter and allow pollutants to settle instead of being released into the environment.

Learn More

Construction Site