Category Archives: MSD News

City and County wish to continue fighting over MSD for another year

Following on the dispute between the city and county over Consent Decree Phase 2 plans  (and countless other disputers over MSD), the County has sent a letter to Federal Court Judge Michael R. Barrett which says  “This letter proposes that you assist the City and County in agreeing to a simple extension of the MSD 1968 Agreement in order to continue working together toward the previously agreed upon transition of MSD. The simple extension would be until July 1, 2019.” Read the full letter here.Ltr_MSD_Court re 1968 Extension_20180720

Note that the 50 year agreement between the city and county ended April 30, 2018. They agreed to extend that deadline to September but cannot meet the September 2018 deadline. Originally a new agreement was to be reached by September 2017.

The continued waste of money on disputes instead of fixing the sewers is an outrage.


County disputes USEPA position on submission of Phase 2 Plans

Hamilton County tells USEPA that” …we respectfully dispute your letter of July 17, 2018 and its actions. We request that you accept receipt of the Board’s Phase 2A submittal and review it as the sole Phase 2A plan proposal on behalf of both Defendants. We again request, as we did in our letter of June 29, 2018 …, that you reject the City’s Phase 2A proposal as being unauthorized by the Board. If the Regulators do not promptly take these actions, the Board will be forced to invoke Dispute Resolution under Section XXI of the Consent Decree.”

Read the County letter here. Ltr_Response to Regulator Phase 2A Rejection Letter

USEPA says city and county cannot submit separate Phase II plans.

USEPA states “Defendants [Cincinnati and Hamilton County] shall submit a schedule that is as expeditious as practicable to the United States/State/ORSANCO for addition Final WWIP projects to be constructed (Phase 2),” “Defendants may propose a Phase 2 schedule,”.  In other words the separate submissions by the two defendants do not count as a submission that was due on June 30,  2018 assuming the Court agrees to extending the consent Decree deadline from June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2018.  In other words, the city and county have missed the Consent Decree deadline for submission of the Phase 2 plan(s).  you can read the USEPA letter here OH0105457_HamiltonCounty_Comp_20180717.

Sewer Overflows in Cincinnati linked to

The first epidemiological study to report associations between sewer overflow (CSO) events occurring near homes and elevated risks for Emergency Department visits was conducted by  Professor Cole Brokamp. The time period of this study was Jan 31, 2010 to December 9, 2014.  The study found “evidence that CSO events occurring near residences were linked to childhood ED (Emergency Department) visits for GI illnesses, primarily acute gastroenteritis, 2 to 5 days post CSO events.”  Download Dr Brokamp’s powerpoint here and the study here.   An interactive map of the CSOs can also be accessed here.

County releases Phase II plan for MSD sewer consent decree

The city and county have been unable to reach agreement on the next phase of the MSD s Consent Decree. The county has released its plan.  We don’t know if the city will release theirs or submit their version to USEPA for approval.

Here are the documents that the County has provided.

Summary: BOCC – Board’s WWIP Phase 2A Proposed Plan Summary 5-25-18

first set of Fact Sheets for some projects: Hamilton County Phase 2A Fact Sheets – Part 1 Phase 2A Fact Sheets – Part 1.2 for 2018-06-05

Second set of Fact Sheets: Phase 2A Fact Sheets – Part 1.2 for 2018-06-05

Sierra Club’s comments on the un-approvable County plan: 2018-06-07 SC comments on County Phase II plan

Sewers & Clean Water – Phase II Plan?

On Friday May 27, Hamilton County sent out the information below about the failure of the city and county to reach agreement on the Phase II plan for MSD sewer repairs.  The County is seeking comments on their version of the Phase II plan. The Phase II plan was due to USEPA June 30, 2017, nearly a year ago.

Remaining hearings will be held

–          6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Delhi Senior Center, 647 Neeb Road

–          6:00 p.m., Thursday, June 7, 2018, at the NorthChurch, 4222 Hamilton Avenue

ham co email  announcement of the public meeting

BOCC ltr to City Officials re MSD Phase 2A Public Hearings Commissioner letter

BOCC – Board’s WWIP Phase 2A Proposed Plan Summary 5-25-18 link above to the County Plan





MSD would like to inform you that the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) will conduct an additional public hearing to consider the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati’s (MSD) recommended 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), 2017 Operating Budget, and a revised rate structure for sewerage service charges and surcharges.

There are two scheduled public hearings at the Hamilton County Administration Building, 138 East Court Street, Room 603, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

There is also a a public meeting where sewer rates will be discussed but it is not an official public hearing. It is scheduled for
Monday, November 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Communities United for Action (CUFA), 1814 Dreman Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45223

MSD’s annual capital improvement budget and annual operating budget are developed and recommended by MSD to the BoCC each year along with any rate or fee recommendations that support the budget proposal. The budgets and associated rate recommendations reflect the resources required to ensure full compliance with all regulatory requirements as well as to protect public health throughout Hamilton County.
View the Additional Notice of Public Hearing.

View the original Notice of Public Hearing.
MSD Communications
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati and Hamilton County rush to deal on 45-year County take-over of Sewer District

Infighting between Cincinnati and Hamilton County has gotten in the way of implementing sewer consent decree projects that would clean some of the worst polluted water in the United States. By the Sewer Districts own reckoning, over 8 billion gallons of untreated sewage mixed with rain water, go into the Ohio River, Mill Creek and Muddy Creek. The Sewer District continually violates the Clean Water Act, exceeds standards by millions and continues to maintain illegal Sanitary Sewer Overflows.

Sierra Club remains concerned that the creation of a new five-member board of City of Cincinnati (2) and Hamilton County (3) appointed members to oversee operations, recreates the same potential for conflict. “Supermajorities” (4of 5) are required for major decisions; supermajority requirements tend to prevent, rather than encourage projects. The commitment letter seeks to let the City out of the consent decree, yet maintains a level of control that could interfere with consent decree work. These delays will add to the City’s prediction that a number of consent decree projects will already be late. The importance of the consent decree work needs to have primacy in the new agreement, but currently doesn’t. At the same time, the commitment letter also leaves the dispute about asset ownership up in the air.

We sought to have the deadline extended to allow for more consideration of this 45-year deal to fix it and allow other options to be explored. While the deadline was extended from the original 1 week, it did not allow sufficient time for the public to be more fully informed and consider other options.

The mediation between the City and County, which led to the commitment letter, was under a gag order by the judge assigned to the consent decree. The next set of projects to be completed by the Sewer District, under the consent decree, were due to US EPA on June 30. The County requested, and may still want, a one year delay in submitting this set of commitments for work that begins in 2019. US EPA, at this point, has granted a 4-month extension until October 31, 2017. Bizarrely, the City and County will not release even a draft of the Phase 2 plan for public review (beyond the list created in 2010 which has most likely changed in at least some respects.)

Sierra Club is also concerned about the status of verbal commitments made by the current management to businesses and residents about sewer projects. Will they be honored by the future management?

Thanks to diligent and fast work by Sierra Club attorneys and many members of the public, some changes were made to the commitment letter, over the weekend before the Monday morning vote. Sierra Club offered draft language, some of which was accepted. We appreciate members of Council and the Commission’s willingness to meet and discuss issues of concern about this 45 year agreement.