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"Vital" Sewer Project Over Budget Before Work Starts

Tana Weingartner

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. 

The LMCPR was mandated in a federal consent decree meant to address combined sewer overflows.

Meyer says in 2013 Hamilton County and Cincinnati approved $227 million, with a $16 million contingency fund.  But he says there are several items that are necessary but aren’t included in that budget.

He says a program management consultant, which would include schedulers and an enterprise manager, would add an additional $12 million. Other expenses including four side projects, sustainable infrastructure, and change orders, would put another $7.4 million on the LMCPR. 

Meyer says he sees the need for another $9 million contingency fund.

“So we’re projecting that they will finish the project about $13.5 million over budget if they do everything very well,” Meyer says.

Commission President Chris Monzel calls the project “vital,” and says spending needs to be watched closely.

“$244 million is a heck of a lot of money and that’s only being paid out of the rates of the ratepayers," Monzel says. "In order to protect them we need to make sure that we keep our costs in control as much as possible.” 

The consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency specifies the project be done by 2018.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.