UPDATE 11/13/18:  In September, the City of Olmsted Falls was awarded a grant of $1,090,500 by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for the Phase V Sewer Project. The award represents two separate funds that will help reduce individual property owner assessments by approximately $1,500 as well as additional money that will be available as reimbursement for property owners within the Phase V area only who need to close their septic systems. The money will only be available to residents within the current sewer upgrade area. As of November 2018, a program is being developed and will be announced in 2019 to provide further guidance. Until the Phase V project is near completion, the exact assessment and process will not be known. The City of Olmsted Falls will host a meeting in early 2019 to take questions and share information. Questions may be directed to the City Engineer, Don Sheehy at 440.439.1999.

Phase V Sewer Project Meeting
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Donauschwaben German-American Cultural Center

 Mayor Graven welcomed residents and thanked them for being present. He apologized for not holding the meeting sooner, but the need to organize city business and manage the budget have taken an extraordinary amount of time.  He also recognized that residents are eager for accurate information since the project will have financial and transportation impacts. He wants all residents to be informed and invited them to submit their comments during the meeting and as new questions arise.

Mayor Graven invited Don Sheehy of Chagrin Valley Engineering (CVE) to provide an update on the status of the project. Mr. Sheehy shared:

-          The project will be complete by the end of 2019.

-          Property owners will not receive a bill until after the work is completed.

-          The city, in cooperation with CVE, continues to pursue more funding to reduce the assessment.

-          The range for individual property assessments is currently at $12,300 - $12,700.

-          Grants to reduce assessments have already brought that estimate down from $25,000.

-          The assessed amount will be payable over 20 years. Cost will be approximately $60 per month.

-          Twenty-years is the longest time frame allowable by law to pay the assessment.

-          Assessments for all property owners are arrived at equitably to share costs among all in the service area.

Bid Package


Bid Date

Project Area


May/June 2018

Pump Stations


May/June 2018

Cook, Inland, Clark, Mapleway (North of Myrtle), Myrtle


November 2018

Cranage, Columbia (N of Cook), River, Water, Main, Nobottom


May 2019

All Pavement Rehabilitation

 In response to questions from residents, the following information was provided by Mr. Sheehy:

Q. Why do we only have an estimate and not an exact cost? Why can’t the total cost be known right now?

A. CVE is obligated to follow a bid process based on unit prices, which means each aspect of the project must be bid separately to obtain the best price. Different units include different aspects of the project such as installation, road repair, etc. Not all bidders have expertise in all areas of the process, so each phase is separated to get the best work at the best cost. There are only a few companies that can handle a $12 million project, so the project is broken into packets of work to get more competitive bids.

Q. Why is the cost now so different from the initial $6,000 estimate given several years ago?

A. The last engineers made many mistakes in the bidding process and used unrealistic estimates that gave more hope that the cost would be lower than possible to complete all the work.

Q. Why are residents responsible for the cost of repairing the roads that are the property of the County?

A. Water and Elm Streets will have sewers going down the middle of the road and those roads will need complete replacement. The City’s residents are responsible for covering the costs of our roads. At the same time, Cuyahoga County has contributed $800,000 in grant funds to help cover the cost of repaving.

Q. Can individual property owners hire their own contractors to implode their septic systems and tie-in to the new sewer?

A. Yes, property owners are responsible for ensuring their old septic system is properly closed down. Mr. Sheehy will be happy to recommend three or four qualified contractors who are experienced and reputable to do the work. The City will also help property owners to secure low-interest loans, if needed, to cover the cost. Rick Novickis, Director of Environmental Health with Cuyahoga County Board of Health, was present and offered assistance from the Board by hosting a forum for residents who want more information about crushing their old septic systems and working with the Board of Health to make the process safe, efficient, and cost-effective. That forum will be organized next year and communicated in advance to property owners.

Q. Was there a water disruption to some residents already and will that be an ongoing issue for all streets involved?

A. Yes, there was a disruption on Elm Street due to structural problems with the old pipes that had leaks and breaks. Much of the infrastructure is very old and when construction crews are working, they could discover other issues that would need repair. So, while disruptions aren’t anticipated, they could be encountered depending on the condition of the water lines.

Q. Will everyone be assessed?

A. All buildable lots within the project area will be assessed. Property owners have already received an estimate via mail.

 Q. Apart from the estimated costs of sewers and cost to close septic systems, are there other costs involved?

A. All right of way costs are part of the construction, there are no additional costs to property owners.

 Q. What is a pump station and where will it be located?

A. The pump stations will move sewage from pipes to the sanitary sewer by helping to clear low spots. There will be a pump station at River Road and Water Street in the right of way. There will not be a pump station on Mapleway. There will be a total of seven or eight pump stations in the city.

 Q. Does any portion of the project include storm sewer work?

A. Some parts of the project will require work. Where there are known collapsed pipe, for example, repairs will be made.

Q. How can homeowners prevent or take care of damage to their homes, particularly if historic?

A. They should take photos before construction begins. If damage does occur, a homeowner can address that with their insurance company.

 Q. Who maintains the pump stations after they are installed?

A. Each customer receives a bill for operation and maintenance that is built into the sewer bill.

 Q. How long will each phase of the construction process take?

A. Each phase will take approximately four to six months to complete. Weather and infrastructure problems that are discovered could obviously influence the timeframe.

 Q. What is the timeframe after sewer is in until the road is put together and what materials will the road surface be?

A. The road will be a stone base with a full-depth asphalt top. The repair to make the road passable will be immediate and all finish paving will take place in 2019.

Q. For a poorly working septic system, what can homeowners who are outside the sanitary sewer project do?

A. Cuyahoga County Board of Health is in charge of septic system. Rick Novickis can help. Also, a forum will be held in 2019 to further address dealing with and shutting down old septic systems. Rick mentioned that not all contractors who service septic systems have experience with connecting to sanitary sewers, but the County can help homeowners make the right choices.