Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposes Revisions to 25-year Sewer System Upgrade

Sept. 7, 2022
The project is part of a Consent Decree to resolve ongoing Clean Water Act violations alleged by EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) is proposing to modify its $4.7 billion, 25-year sewer system upgrade.

According to the U.S. EPA, there are proposed modifications to the sewer project, which involves revisions to "reduce the project’s impacts to underserved communities, will not negatively affect ratepayers, and will reduce discharges of sewage into local waters."

“EPA commends MSD’s efforts to improve their long-term sewer project to benefit the community, consumers, and the environment,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister in the EPA news release. “These modifications represent MSD’s and the federal government’s commitments to environmental justice and reducing harmful discharges to our nation’s waters.”

MSD has thus far spent 10 years on the project, reports EPA.

The project aims to "upgrade the city’s aging sewer system by separating areas with combined sewer and stormwater pipes that lead to discharges of sewage into the Mississippi River and its tributaries," states EPA

The project is part of a Consent Decree to resolve ongoing Clean Water Act violations alleged by EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Revisions include replacing two wastewater storage tunnels with a single storage tunnel to lessen traffic and reduce construction impacts in the Richmond Heights area. Additionally, the revisions will reduce the need for purchasing residential properties and easement acquisition, adds EPA.

The proposed revisions to the sewer system project will be available for public review and comment for at least 30 days starting Aug. 10.

So far, according to EPA, MSD has:

  • Spent $60.8 million on the Cityshed Mitigation Program to mitigate backups in the sewer system that lead to basement backups and overland flooding;
  • Spent $30.5 million on a Green Infrastructure Program, which has resulted in the reduction of an estimated 35.77 million gallons of combined sewer and stormwater discharges into the Mississippi River watershed;
  • Continued construction of Maline Creek, Deer Creek, Gravois Creek, and Jefferson Barracks storage tunnels/facilities; continued planning of Upper River Des Peres and River Des Peres tributaries storage tunnels; and final engineering of the Lower and Middle Des Peres storage tunnel;
  • Completed the Coldwater Sanitary Relief storage facility;
  • Completed the Lemay Treatment Plant primary and secondary treatment capacity, with additional expansions in progress at the Lower Meramec Wastewater Treatment Facility;
  • Eliminated 76 Sanitary Sewer Overflows, areas in the sewer system designed to discharge combined sewer and stormwater during high rain events; And
  • Spent $1.6 million on closures of unauthorized sewer connections and septic tanks.
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Cristina Tuser