Mayor Graham Richard will participate in a panel discussion on the importance of water quality and how it affects cities.

The panel discussion is from 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, March 29 and is part of the Western Lake Erie Basin Partnership Leadership Meeting at the Metea County Park Nature Center, 8401 Union Chapel Rd.

Greg Meszaros, Director of Public Works and City Utilities, will moderate the panel discussion, which includes mayors and other governmental leaders from Indiana and Ohio.

Mayor Richard will present Fort Wayne'€™s initiatives to meet water quality challenges including combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff. The City has a 25-year, $250 million program to reduce combined sewer overflows, enhance the Water Filtration Plant and Water Pollution Control facilities and reduce the risk of basement backups.

Fort Wayne recently completed the $20 million Camp Scott project to relieve basement backups. The new $19 million Headworks project at the Water Pollution Control Plant was the first of several major projects to increase sewage treatment capacity from 60 million gallons per day to 85 million gallons per day. The Headworks project was the first major upgrade to the plant'€™s mechanical and electrical systems in more than 30 years. A $32 million project is underway to expand the capacity of the primary settling tank.