Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Local News

New urban waterway to make South Fairmount flow better

In the next few years, Westside residents will get some relief from flooding and sewer runoff.

Demolition is underway in South Fairmount for what will become a green space to capture rainwater, hold it back and not let it get into the combined sewer right away.

The problem

Every year, about 1 billion gallons of raw sewage-mixed with stormwater, overflow into the Mill Creek, causing flooded basements and erosion. The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati is under a government mandate to reduce overflows. The Lick Run watershed is the largest combined sewer overflow in Hamilton County. The watershed covers 2,700 acres including South Fairmount and parts of East and West Price Hill and Westwood.

The Lick Run Project

One hundred years ago Lick Run was buried and put in a 19.5-foot-diameter pipe to flow directly into the Mill Creek. It will be daylighted to flow for about a mile between Queen City and Westwood Avenues. MSD is also planning some ponds and a path for walking and biking. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will grade and plant the area. Construction will begin in 2016.

Before work can begin about 70 vacant buildings will be demolished. Twenty of them will be torn down this fall. Some of them are being deconstructed and Building Value has salvaged:

  • 97 antique wooden doors
  • 2,600 linear feet of antique staircases
  • tin ceilings

MSD Interim Deputy Director MaryLynn Lodor says, "It's really about re-purposing our assets and considering how we can get the biggest value for our rate payers as we're embarking upon Project Groundwork." She says using this watershed approach will save $200 million on the project.

Other cities are paying attention

San Francisco, New Orleans and Washington D.C. have called Hamilton County, to find out how the project will work. The EPA has recognized Project Groundwork as a national model.