5 reasons to go the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Open House

Wally the Water Drop poses with fans at the Northeast Ohio Sewer District Open House in 2017. (NEORSD)

They call it the No. 1 event in the No. 2 business: The annual Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Open House and Clean Water Fest.

The free annual event attracts more visitors every year; last year attracted nearly 3,000. It all happens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant, 4747 East 49th Street in Cuyahoga Heights.

Think it’s all about poop? Really, it’s all about water.

Cleveland gets its drinking water from Lake Erie. The city sends its waste and stormwater right back to the lake.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s massive labyrinth of pipes, tunnels and treatment plants protect our Great Lake for swimmers, boaters and anglers.

4 ways Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is protecting Lake Erie — and 3 ways you can help

Here are five reasons to go:

1. Eat free food: Who doesn’t love free food? All guests receive ice cream and popcorn. Food trucks Barrio and Up In Smoke BBQ will have food for purchase.

2. Do fun family stuff: Guests can tour the largest wastewater treatment plant in Ohio, visit the laboratory, sit in trucks, tour the Sewer Simulator, conduct experiments, decorate a custom hard hat and more. There’s also free face painting, balloon animals, and arts and crafts.

3. Browse hands-on exhibits: More than 70 educational exhibits show the work of the district and partnering organizations, including Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Division of Water and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

4. Recycle your plastic grocery bags! You can’t put them in your recycle bin, unfortunately. But the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities has partnered with the district to transform them into sleeping mats for the homeless. Bring your bags to the Open House and receive a free reusable tote.

5. Take a tour: Bike tours at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. cruise 5.5 miles around the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Center. Preregistration is required. Treatment plant tours depart every 15 minutes. The plant tour is via bus with minimal walking, the lab tour includes science experiments and is a walking tour. Visitors wanting to tour Southerly MUST wear closed-toe shoes for tours; hard hats and safety glasses will be provided.