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Making Affordability Fit Your Community-A Holistic Approach for Wet Weather Management Programs

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The City of Columbus, Ohio is under two consent orders from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) related to wet weather issues. One order deals with combined sewer overflows (CSO) while the other addresses sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). The City recognized that these two issues were related and needed to be dealt with in an integrated approach. This decision led to the development of a Wet Weather Management Plan that addressed both CSO and SSO issues. A critical component of the plan was the affordability analysis. Consistent with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidance, OEPA required that an affordability analysis be performed which followed USEPA, “Combined Sewer Overflows – Final Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development”. The City wanted an approach to affordability that was specific to Columbus within the overall framework of the guidance. The City also established that the analysis had to be dynamic and be useful in the future as economic conditions and project considerations change.

The City had a choice regarding affordability. One option was to establish a completion schedule and then define projects that would be affordable given that schedule. This approach had the potential to limit the scope of the improvements. The second approach was to establish the projects necessary to achieve a set of reduction goals (service level) and then to test the affordability of this solution set against a variety of schedules using a set of affordability criteria. The City adopted this latter approach and established the following goal for the analysis: “To ensure that any schedule for improvements is as expeditious as possible while maintaining affordable rates for all consumers”

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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