Consent decree

An audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District has turned up nearly $780,000 worth of illegal or unauthorized spending. State Auditor Dave Yost's office released the findings of a two year investigation Friday morning.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Imagine this: You're outside a bar on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. A friend's boyfriend has stepped outside to smoke. He finishes the cigarette, and maybe there isn't an ashtray or a bucket nearby, and so he tosses it into the street.

Or, try this scenario: You're at home with one of those "flushable" wipes. You're done with it, so, you flush it.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has to submit a Phase Two plan for consent decree work by Saturday, but the two organizations that own and operate the utility are still negotiating over what to submit.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A federal judge will get an update on the future of the Metropolitan Sewer District Wednesday morning. Cincinnati and Hamilton County representatives will go before Judge Michael Barrett to discuss the process to replace a 1968 agreement that had the city operate the utility, anc the county made budget decisions.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The Lower Mill Creek Partial Remedy Project (LMCPR) is already over budget, according to Hamilton County’s utility monitor.

Dave Meyer told the Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday the original price tag for the project is at least $13 million short of what it will actually take to complete it. 

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati and Hamilton County have about two years left to complete the first phase of a program to reduce combined sewer overflows in the region.  It is part of federal consent decree finalized in 2006.  

There are 23 projects that must be completed by the end of 2018.  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) Director Gerald Checco updated a council committee on the work Tuesday.  

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

After the first of two public hearings on the Metropolitan Sewer District's 2015 budget, one thing is clear: there's still a lot of animosity between the utility and Hamilton County Commissioners.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

As Hamilton County Commissioners are faced with raising sewer rates again, they're wondering if there's another way to find some relief for ratepayers.

Commission president Chris Monzel says "it's staggering, the amount of money that we have to put into this every year."

He's referring to the multi-billion dollar federal mandate to upgrade the county's sewer system.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann agrees. "Ratepayers are just getting absolutely soaked," he says.

Sarah Ramsey

They've had their differences, but it looks like the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are making progress on a plan to provide an adequate local workforce for the $3 billion project to modernize the Metropolitan Sewer District.