City, County Agree On One MSD Issue, But Plenty Of Disagreement Remains

Mar 3, 2020

Cincinnati and Hamilton County will be asking a federal judge to eliminate the 24-hour limited period for Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) customers to report sewer back-ups in their basements.  

The agency has never really enforced the rule, and now parties want to make the change permanent.

Florence Miller with Communities United for Action is supportive.

MSD investigates back-ups and then determines if the sewer system was responsible, which can lead to reimbursement from the district.  

A judge must approve what the parties call a minor change to the federal consent decree, which requires MSD to reduce the amount of untreated sewage flowing into local streams during heavy rain events.

While the city and county agree on the 24-hour elimination, they still cannot agree on how to stop untreated sewage from flowing into Muddy Creek in Green Township.  That problem is the result of a broken sewer pipe that needs to be replaced.

The city, which manages MSD, wants to make a permanent repair by installing a new pipe in the roadway and taking it out of the creek. The county, which sets MSD policy and controls the budget, wants to make temporary repairs while a permanent fix is designed that meets the county's budget requirements.

MSD officials told a City Council committee Tuesday the temporary repairs would waste millions of ratepayer dollars.

"The patch proposed by the county's consultant will not work and it will not hold given the pressure of the significant flow that the Upper Muddy Creek interceptor conveys," MSD said in a statement.

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus, Cincinnati Council Member Greg Landsman, MSD representatives and county consultants were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Muddy Creek issue and try to reach consensus on how to move forward.