Ray Flasco

Age: 63

Profession/ Avocation: Acting Akron Water Plant Superintendent and consultant for Ohio Environmental Design Group

Connection to the river: Grew up in North Hill and enjoyed the Cuyahoga recreationally all of his life. Also, Cuyahoga River flow and watershed help fill the Lake Rockwell Reservoir, the main reservoir for the Akron Water Plant.

Profile: Flasco led the charge in getting rid of chlorine gas 15 years ago as the primary disinfectant used to treat water at the Akron Water Plant. The plant switched over to liquid chlorine, a much less volatile and dangerous form. If the wind blew in the right direction, chlorine gas could cause widespread harm to neighboring communities and plant workers.

"I could finally sleep easy knowing that one misstep at the plant could no longer cause such catastrophic damage to the employees and surrounding areas."

Flasco has a chemical engineering background that helps him ensure the Akron Water Plant continues to meet EPA regulations. Flasco also received his Class 4 license from the EPA in 1992, one of only two people at the Akron Water Plant to hold such a license. He is the first in the Greater Akron area.

"We have a huge responsibility. Each and every citizen of the 280,000 we serve puts their trust in us when they drink the water. It's challenging and no one has figured out the best and end all way to treat water."

Why I do what I do related to the river: Flasco holds the Cuyahoga River in high regard as he grew up kayaking and fishing its banks and continues to do so to this day. "We are protectors of the environment and we must work hard on the Cuyahoga's watershed."

Favorite feature/place/section thing about the river: Flasco enjoys fishing downstream from the Edison Dam. Flasco said he has kayaked and rafted this sloped, rocky area. He can always predict how good the fishing will be by looking at the bottom of a rock. If the rock has crawfish and other lively organic matter, Flasco knows the smallmouth bass will be biting all day long.