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Hamilton County Directs Sewer District To Move Forward With Greener Solutions

Metropolitan Sewer District
An artist rendering of the Lick Run Greenway includes an urban stream used to divert storm water from underground sanitary sewers.

Hamilton County's plan for the next phase of the federally-mandated sewer system overhaul calls for using newer "green" technologies rather than traditional methods for dealing with waste and storm water.

A federal bill signed last month allows communities to try out different solutions such as separating storm and waste water sooner or keeping storm water out of the sanitary system as much as possible.

"That should benefit Hamilton County ratepayers to the tune of cost savings ... up to an estimated $1 billion from now through the end our our consent decree program," says Commissioner Todd Portune, who has spent years lobbying legislators in Washington D.C. for more flexibility.

The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is preparing to begin Phase 2A of the multi-billion dollar federal consent decree.

Commissioners adopted three resolutions Tuesday directing MSD to comply with the county's plan for Phase 2A. That's opposed to the more traditional plan submitted by the City of Cincinnati.

The city and county are at odds over how best to run the utility and the comply with the consent decree. Under a federal judge's ruling last year, the sides are still functioning under a now-expired 1968 agreement on MSD operations while they decide how to proceed.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.