Defiance Ohio has a sewer problem, Lake Erie too

Bruce Gerencser is right on the money stating where our national spending priorities need to be:

Years ago the City of Defiance, Ohio, a NW Ohio city of 17,000 people, built sewers that also carried storm run off.(also known as combined sewer overflows) In the normal course of things sewage and storm runoff are processed at the sewage processing plant and the treated water is emptied into the Maumee River. This system was built many years ago, long before there was a federal department called the EPA.

Here’s the problem. This system works well until the weather dumps more rain on the City of Defiance than the drains can handle. This causes an overflow problem resulting in raw sewage being dumped into the Maumee River. This is the same river that the City of Defiance gets its raw drinking water from.


The EPA ordered the City of Defiance to separate the storm drains from the sewer lines. The City has been diligently doing as the EPA ordered but now they have reached a point where they are out of money for the project. Unless Defiance residents are willing to pay astronomical sewer bills the City of Defiance has a big conundrum on their hands.

The City of Defiance rightly fears being taken to court by the EPA. They know residents of Defiance cannot pay astronomical sewer bills, but at the same time, they also know raw sewage flowing into the Maumee River is not environmentally responsible.


The answer is simple. Congress must start and fund a major, multibillion dollar infrastructure improvement program. The focus of this program should be critical infrastructure issues like the one Defiance is facing. This will require the bickering children in Washington to work together for the common good of us all. It is time to have a budget that addresses the critical needs Americans face. It is time to understand that shit in a public waterway is more important that three wars in the Middle East.

Not often do I see an environmental editorial that needs to go viral, but Bruce’s investigative skills are really quite remarkable. Maybe if we’re lucky a smart editor in the North East Ohio newspapers or local news will get on this piece.

As a contrast, Congress spent $860,000 on bottled water last year. That act translated to the rest of America’s aging and under-performing infrastructure: let them drink shit-water.

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