Stop Sewer Overflows

For years Sierra Club has been working to reduce and eliminate sewer overflows.  Our current efforts are focused on the Lower Mill Creek Partial Remedy and Sewage Basement Backups.

Some of MSD’s information on the Lower Mill Creek Partial Remedy can be found on their website.

The Hamilton County Commission will be holding hearings on the MSD projects at 138 E. Court Street, Room 605, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.  Wednesday, Sept 26 at 11:30 am, Wednesday, October 3 at 11:30 am and Wednesday Oct 10 at 11:30 am

A fourth public hearing has been scheduled for Oct 8 at 5:30 pm ath the MSD Administration Building at 1081 Woodrow Street, 45204.


Our efforts in Hamilton County  date back to the 1970’s when Sierra Club served on a committee formed by Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments.  Back then the sewer overflow problem was estimated to cost $2billion. The federal Clean Water Act passed in 1972, making sanitary sewer overflows illegal and setting the goal of making all waters fishable and swimmable.  Yet little progress was made locally. In 2001, Sierra Club sent a notice of intent to sue to MSD, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Commission.  USEPA filed a complaint and Interium Partial Consent Decree and Sierra Club became an intervenor in the federal suit against MSD. The “global” consent decree followed that in 2004.  One of the requirements of the Global Consent Decree was MSD had to develop a Long Term Control Plan to reduce Combined Sewer Overflows.  MSD’s plan was ultimately not approved by USEPA.  A revised plan, which was in some ways dependent on the 2006 plan, was approved by USEPA in 2009, conditional on the Court agreeing to changes in the consent decree.

On June 5, 2009 USEPA sent MSD, the city and the county, a letter conditionally approving the WWIP (West Weather Improvement Plan) which includes the Long Term Control Plan, required by USEPA regulations, for the purpose of controlling Combined Sewer Overflows. This plan (WWIP) also includes sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).  The WWIP is in 3 attachments to the letter: Attachement A (in several parts) Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl App A pages 1-17 Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl App A-2 attachments 1A, 1B, 1C pages 18 to 25  Pages from Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl App attachments 2&3 Pages from Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl Attachment 4&5 pages 33 to 49-3 , Attachment B Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl App B and Attachment C Ham Co Final WWIP Cond Aprvl App C.

Sierra Club also filed comments with USEPA and the federal court: 9-2-2009 Final Sierra Club Comments  and  Exhibit A – Sierra Club Comments

Modifications were made to the WWIP and the court approved the amended WWIP:

court exhibit 1 exhibit 2 exhibit 3 exhibit 4 exhibit 5 exhibit 6 exhibit 7

One of the major provisions of the amended WWIP was studying two options for Lower Mill Creek Partial Remedy, the default being a $244 million tunnel and the alternative being a Green Infrastructure Plan.  MSD’s deadline for submitting these documents is December 31, 2012.  Prior to the submission, the County Commission must approve the submittal.

Public hearings are expected to be held by the County Commission beginning in September, 2012.


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