Category Archives: MSD News

Say no to sewage in Cincinnati’s streams!

Every time it rains, Ohio’s public and environmental health is threatened by combined sewage overflows. Unfortunately, Ohio has over 1,000 combined sewage overflow points, making our state a leader in combined sewage overflows. The good news is that Ohio is required to reduce combined sewage overflows, and many communities are exploring innovative green infrastructure solutions.

Take Action to protect our waterways from sewage!

Hamilton County in southwestern Ohio is currently considering whether to utilize a green or grey approach to reduce combined sewage overflows. Grey, or traditional, solutions are often more costly than green solutions like rain gardens, daylighting streams, and bio-swales.

However, green solutions have yet to be proven effective on such a large scale. County officials need to hear broad support for green infrastructure.

Voice your support for green infrastructure!!!

Thank you for taking action.  Together we can keep sewage out of our streams.

   Marilyn Wall
   Miami Group 
   Sierra Club
 
 

P.S. Tell your friends and family to take action and keep sewers out of our streams, and get your social media networks involved:

 

Cincinnati Livable Communities Committee votes to support pump station improvements

Cincinnati’s Livable Communities Community voted 5-0-2 (5 in favor, 2 absent) to support upgrading the Glenview Pump Station instead of installing a much more expensive gravity sewer through critical cold water habitat.  The glenview pump station comes before the full Cincinnati City Council on Wed May 16,2012.

 

Council members voting in favor include Roxanne Qualls, Cecil Thomas, Laure Quinlivan, Chris Seelbach, and Wendell Young.

Sewer Again a Threat to Beautiful Stream Valley

A few years ago, a proposed shopping mall in Green Township (Legacy Place) was defeated by citizens.  They convinced Ohio EPA to deny the developer a water quality permit to destroy almost a mile of headwater streams on the site.  Thanks, Clean Water Act!  This project would have devastated the cold water habitat stream that flows to the Great Miami River.  Cold water habitat is rare in Hamilton County, and headwater streams are essential to aquatic life.

The stream system—known as Wesselman Creek—is again under threat.  “Glenview,” an MSD pump station located near the failed development site, is slated for a relatively inexpensive Consent Decree “upgrade” because, on occasion, it overflows to the stream.  The pump station is nearing the end of its expected life, and also needs a backup power supply—issues which need to be addressed.  Interestingly enough, stormwater removal may already have eliminated much of the overflow problem.  The Consent Decree lists the cost: $760,302.

However, MSD changed its “upgrade” plans and now proposes to build a gravity sewer—1.5 miles in length—along the stream to “eliminate” the pump station.  New cost to MSD’s ratepayers: $3,293,000. MSD does not consider any impacts to nature—including the diverse life in the stream—from bulldozing a wide swath through the mature forest, and excavating in the stream’s riparian corridor.  Hamilton County’s remaining natural areas are priceless and should be protected, not destroyed.

Why the change in plans?  MSD prefers gravity sewers to pump stations.  Green Township wants a sewer to promote growth in this sparcely-populated area. MSD is eyeing the possibility that many more miles of lateral sewers could eventually be connected. Note: only two home sewage treatment systems (HSTS) would be picked up by the proposed sewer. Whether this is the most cost-effective way to provide any needed HSTS elimination has not been addressed.

Seven property owners are on record opposing the sewer for numerous reasons, including its negative impact on the stream.  Three owners are eager for the sewer. They have publicly stated their desire to sell their land for development.  (One of them called it his “retirement,” because the sewer would make his property more valuable to developers.)

So, MSD ratepayers are left paying for a more expensive gravity sewer that would threaten a rare and important stream habitat.  In June 2011, all three Hamilton County Commissioners approved moving forward with design work.  Cincinnati City Council took up the issue in March 2012.  Council has the ability to require that the less expensive—and less environmentally damaging—pump station “upgrade” be done, because it is in the Consent Decree.  Important: City Council must agree to any changes made to the Consent Decree.

Roxanne Qualls’ Livable Communities Committee will be considering a motion on this subject Tuesday  May  8, 2012 at 1 pm.

Sewer Backup costs MSD

On April 22, 2011, a lack of capacity in MSD’s sewer system caused a sewage backup into the basement of 705 Elm Ct, Reading Ohio.  MSD did not act to prevent further backups or compensate Mr Wells, the property owner, as required by the consent decree.

A second backup occurred on September 2011 at which time MSD did decide that a prevention devices was needed, but MSD put that project on hold.

A third backup occurred in December 2011, and can be seen on YouTube (search on YouTube for 705elmct)

On January 5, 2012, Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz, United States District Court awarded Mr. Wells, $19,154.69. And this covered the costs of only the first backup.

MSD is required by their Consent Decree in federal Case No. 1:02-cv-107, United States et al vs Board of Hamilton County Commissioners. Sierra Club is an intervener in the suit due to both sewer overflows in the environment and into people’s homes and businesses. Sierra Club’s video of Sewage in Basement damage can be viewed at D. David Altman Mr. Altman represented Sierra Club in this suit.