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Northside Residents Say MSD Help Too Confusing, Too Late

Tana Weingartner

A Metropolitan Sewer District investigation has determined why some Northside homes were flooded earlier this month. Interim Director Diana Christy says runoff from a heavy rain on June 15 and 16 escaped a couple of catch basins and flooded homes around Kirby and Virginia Avenues.

"The question is- was that because we aren't designing things that are big enough to handle the rainfall we're getting in saturated conditions, or was there something, a risk that wasn't taken into account?" Christy says the basins are still under construction but the berms were built to specification.

MSD says the basins are part of the storm sewer separation project, designed to hold stormwater runoff, and prevent it from getting into the sewer system, causing sewer backups.  

Christy says the agency has rebuilt the berms and created a diversion path to keep the flooding from happening again.

Northside resident Sue Wilke took her complaints to Cincinnati Council Tuesday afternoon. "I would say (it) failed. It's time for the city to admit it failed. It's time for the city to expedite our claims. We don't want to have this be a political football between the city and the county."

MSD's assets are primarily owned by Hamilton County and operated by Cincinnati. The two entities have fought for years over how to operate the utility.

Diana Christy says the district has offered to clean up some of the damaged homes, but some residents say they already did the work and the offer came too late.

Resident Jennifer Carter says she spent her own money to clean her flooded basement. She says she has not submitted a claim to MSD. "We have no idea of what claim to submit, where it's supposed to go, who it's supposed to go to because we continue to get different answers from different people."

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.