Metropolitan Sewer District

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A trio of deputies from the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation toured sites along Cincinnati's proposed streetcar route Thursday. They're checking out sustainability projects such as rain gardens and housing developments.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are ordering a performance and efficiency review of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

The utility is undertaking a multi-billion dollar, federally mandated system upgrade.

Commissioner Chris Monzel proposed the review.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners have approved a 5-percent rate increase for Metropolitan Sewer District customers starting January 9.  Sewer rates have been climbing for several years to pay for a $ 3.2 billion system upgrade required to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

Commissioner Todd Portune said about 780 other local governments are in the same position at a cost of more than $500 billion.

Sewer rates in Hamilton County will likely go up again next year, though not quite as much as expected.

The Metropolitan Sewer District is recommending County Commissioners  approve a five percent increase for each of the next five years. That's less than the eight percent rates went up in 2012. Sewer District Director Tony Parrott says the smaller projected increases are possible because of reduced costs related to changes in a project along the Lower Mill Creek.

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