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Cincinnati Water Rates May Increase To Pay For Hillside Repairs

Cincinnati Water Works officials say they might have to seek a slight rate increase to pay for work to stop the hillside from moving along a portion of Riverside Drive.  

The city has spent just under $10 million so far for a retaining wall. Another $10 million is needed for a second phase.  
The city would like to share the costs between Water Works, the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and Duke Energy who each have major service lines in the area.

Jonathan Peters with Water Works says, so far, construction crews have built a 1,140 ft. long retaining wall including more than 200 steel beams.

"[The beams] are between 50 and 60 foot long," Peters said. "Those are inserted down into the ground. So it's a four foot diameter that's drilled 50 to 60 feet deep. They get down to bedrock, and they go an additional six feet to be incased in the bedrock. They put the steel beam in, it's almost a six ton steel beam, so it's this monstrous beam that is backfilled with approximately 25 yards of concrete."

Phase one should be done by the end of August. Additional construction will start soon. The next phase will include additional retaining walls on the east and west ends of the one that was just constructed.

Council Member Kevin Flynn says the first priority is protecting property and infrastructure.

"But at some point we need to look at causation," Flynn said. "And you know that's where the ultimate claw back, if you will, of compensation for the costs of the remediation would be."

Vice Mayor David Mann said the city needs to be fairly compensated for the emergency repairs.

"We're not interested in increasing water rates if the reason is that other entities have not done their part," Mann said.

The city ordered the emergency stabilization effort earlier this year when testing equipment showed increased movement along Riverside Dr. about two miles east of the Montgomery Inn Boathouse.