Sierra Club recognized for work on stopping sewage from being dumped into local rivers and streams

Sierra Club recognized for work on stopping sewage from being dumped into local rivers and streams.

For more than a decade, the Miami Group has worked to stop the massive se

wage pollution going into our waterways. One of the big efforts has been getting rid of the illegal sewage discharge, called SSO 700 (Sanitary Sewer Overflow), that has dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into Mill Creek, damaging wildlife and posing an ongoing threat of exposure to pathogens and disease.

US EPA has recently approved a Remedial Measures Plan that the Metropolitan Sewer District is now legally obligated to implement to stop SSO 700.

Miami Group Sierra Club provided technical comments on numerous iterations of the SSO 700 plan beginning with the work toward a Consent Decree in 2001. The US EPA in their approval letter stated they “appreciated Sierra Club’s comments and believe the … SSO 700 Remedial Measures Plan addresses many of the concerns that were raised in the Sierra Club’s comments.”

In responding to our comments, US EPA stated that “as a result of Sierra Club’ comments, the Regulators (Ohio EPA and US EPA) asked Defendants (Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati) to make clarifying changes to the prior plans”. Further stating that “the Regulators agreed with Sierra Club and declined to approve the 2017 plan”.

US EPA also pointed out that Sierra Club “highlight[ed] ambiguities” in the 2018 proposed plan. The US EPA also responded to our 2013 comments, 2017 and 2018 comments that the 2012 plan did not include “proposed remedial measures and so was not approval”, agreeing with Sierra Club. As well, Sierra Club pointed out that the Defendants failed to submit costs, and did not address industrial contamination in the area where the Remedial Measures would be built. US EPA had the Defendants provide costing information and Ohio and US EPA conducted reviews of known areas of contamination and the “Defendants should conduct a Full Phase I environmental assessment to determine the extent of contamination present and to develop a contingency to address any contamination uncovered during construction.”

The Miami Group’s work to stop raw sewage pollution has impacted much of the Sewer District’s work for the better and we appreciate all efforts and support from volunteers and community members to clean up our streams and keep untreated sewage full of pathogens and viruses out of our streams, rivers and homes.

Sanitary sewer overflow
This is the outlet showing the gate that opens when there is an illegal discharge of untreated sewage to Mill Creek.

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