Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MSD completes Lick Run plan

Following more than a year of public input, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) has completed its Lick Run Watershed Master Plan, its roadmap for reducing the negative impacts of Cincinnati's largest combined sewer overflow (CSO).

The plan recommends the "daylighting" of the buried Lick Run Creek within a six-block area bounded by White Street, the Western Hills Viaduct, and Queen City and Westwood avenues in South Fairmount.

Estimated to cost $122 million, the project would eliminate nearly half of the 1.7 billion-gallon mix of raw sewage and stormwater running from the 2,700-acre watershed directly into the Mill Creek annually.

A second option, an underground tunnel 1.2 miles in length and 30 feet in diameter, was rejected due to its cost and its lack of additional community benefits. In 2006 dollars, the tunnel was estimated to cost twice as much for construction and three times as much for annual operation and maintenance.

According to the plan, daylighting would have other positive neighborhood effects such as the stimulation of market-rate redevelopment and infill, the creation of multi-use cultural trails and a civic/recreation hub, and transportation and streetscape improvements – creating a more viable and walkable business district.

MSD will submit its preferred remedy for resolving the combined sewer overflow problem to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and other regulators in December.

If approved, urban waterway design could begin next year, with construction beginning in 2015. Project construction would be completed in 2019.

In the meantime, the plan recommends the continuation of multi-agency coordination and collaboration -- including with City departments, collaborating with impacted property owners, developing a robust maintenance and management plan, establishing a project headquarters in South Fairmount, working with the Cincinnati Preservation Association to identify and save cultural resources, and developing a funding and partnership framework.

Lick Run is part of Project Groundwork, a $3.2 billion project to rebuild and improve the region's sewer system. Project Groundwork is mandated by a 2002 consent decree between MSD and the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. EPA, the Ohio EPA, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission that requires MSD to capture, treat, or remove at least 85 percent of the 14 billion gallons of annual combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and the 100 million gallons discharged annually from sanitary only sewers by 2018.

Images from the Lick Run Watershed Master Plan

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati economic development will 'actively support' Lick Run businesses (4/9/12)
Workshop attendees overwhelmingly support Lick Run daylighting (4/3/12)