After 8 Years Of Sewer Backups, Relief Could Be Coming For Some Mt. Washington Neighbors

May 14, 2019

A solution could be coming for some Mt. Washington neighbors fed up with years of sewers backing up in their basements during heavy rains.

Hamilton County commissioners are set to approve a plan Thursday. As described by Board President Denise Driehaus, "this solution captures water during a rain event, holds it underground in a storage container, and then slowly releases it into a combined [sewer] system."

It's the cheapest solution and the neighbors like it.

"My wife and I have probably had more sewer backups than anyone else in the neighborhood," says Louis Kohus. "Of all the solutions, I think the interim director has finally nailed this one. It's the least expensive, it's going to cost you about three-million bucks."

While the least expensive at around $3 million, the solution doesn't keep stormwater out of the overall system, meaning the sewer district will still need to find solutions for that down the line. There are also some concerns it won't be able to handle major back-to-back storms.

It also doesn't employ any green solutions, which the county has been pushing the Metropolitan Sewer District to implement, both as a cost savings and a way to keep stormwater out of the combined sewer system.

In this case, MSD says green solutions like underground storage, retention ponds and rain gardens were more costly and not wanted by neighbors.

Resident Andrew Forgarty tells commissioners the neighbors objected to the green solutions because some of them - one image shows rain gardens along sidewalks - involved invading private properties.