MSD

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County leaders have strong words about how Cincinnati runs the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).  Their remarks came after an Enquirer report alleging mismanagement and possible overspending. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The Lower Mill Creek Partial Remedy Project (LMCPR) is already over budget, according to Hamilton County’s utility monitor.

Dave Meyer told the Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday the original price tag for the project is at least $13 million short of what it will actually take to complete it. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners have approved the 2016 operating budget for the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

The budget delays any rate increase until the middle of next year, after an affordability task force delivers its findings.

Sarah Ramsey

Mayor John Cranley, along with seven of nine Cincinnati council members, have told  Hamilton County commissioners they will talk about the future of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), but not under the assumption the county will take over control.

In a letter to commissioners Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune Wednesday, Cranley and the council members  rejected the argument that the two commissioners made in a letter to Cranley last month – that MSD, plagued with continuing rate increases and allegations of mismanagement – should hand over MSD operations to the county.

Sarah Ramsey

By the middle of the month, the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) will have options and costs for what to do with a waste incinerator at its Little Miami Treatment plant.  

The agency is working with federal and state regulators on alternatives.  

Sarah Ramsey

The latest battle between Cincinnati and Hamilton County concerning the Metropolitan Sewer District is over billing.  

MSD owes the Greater Cincinnati Water Works more than $2 million for billing services and it has not made a payment since June.  

The Metropolitan Sewer District is asking for an extension to meet new federal standards on a human waste incinerator.

MSD leaders and Cincinnati's Mayor traveled to Washington D.C. this week to discuss the issue with the U.S. EPA and members of Ohio's legislative delegation.

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati and Hamilton County have about two years left to complete the first phase of a program to reduce combined sewer overflows in the region.  It is part of federal consent decree finalized in 2006.  

There are 23 projects that must be completed by the end of 2018.  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) Director Gerald Checco updated a council committee on the work Tuesday.  

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials are facing a 2018 deadline to decide the future of the Metropolitan Sewer District.  

A 50-year agreement that began in 1968 between the city and the county will have to be extended, modified or ended.  

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati's Metropolitan Sewer District director Tony Parrott is taking a new job in Kentucky. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Tuesday, announced Parrott as the new executive director of Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners approved funding Wednesday for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to work on design alternatives for part of the Lick Run project. But they aren't happy about it.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County commissioners are downplaying Cincinnati city manager Harry Black's announcement that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will no longer share certain administrative functions with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Cincinnati’s city manager has announced the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) will no longer share administrative services.

Storm Water Management Utility / City of Cincinnati

City of Cincinnati workers spent Tuesday clearing storm water pipes and manholes of leaves, debris and trash. With lots of melting snow, rain and more snow in the forecast, they're worried about flooding.

Principle engineer of the Storm Water Management Utility, Eric Saylor, put it in perspective. "If we did nothing, basically you'd have overland street flooding. With colder temperatures you would have "ponding" around some of the inlets which could, of course, lead to icing, so it becomes a safety hazard as well."

Seal of Hamilton County
Provided / Hamilton County

Hamilton County is preparing to create a Heroin Task Force aimed at curbing the rapidly increasing number of users and overdoses.

Commission President Greg Hartmann announced the effort during his annual State of the County address Thursday.

"Nine thousand heroin addicts came through our jail in 2013," says Hartmann. "There's seven heroin overdoses per day in the City of Cincinnati. I've begun discussions in Columbus. I'm also going to invite the City and our public health experts."

His office later released the following goals for 2015:

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said they are committed to fixing the broken relationship between the city and county concerning the Metropolitan Sewer District.  Both spoke after an hour long meeting Monday at City Hall.  

Hartmann said for MSD to be successful, the county has to have a coordinated approach with the city.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A multi-million dollar sewer project is unexpectedly on hold and that has a lot of Hamilton County and Metropolitan Sewer District officials scratching their heads.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black did something no one was expecting on Dec. 5. He sent a letter to companies who'd bid to do work on the Lick Run Valley Conveyance System project, terminating negotiations. That came as a major surprise to Ulliman Schutte Construction, which had already been awarded the job and signed contracts with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

After the first of two public hearings on the Metropolitan Sewer District's 2015 budget, one thing is clear: there's still a lot of animosity between the utility and Hamilton County Commissioners.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County sewer rates could go up 5.5 percent next year. That's the recommendation from county administrators.

Rates have been increasing for several years and are expected to keep doing so to pay for the multi-billion dollar, federally mandated sewer system upgrade. Last year, commissioners approved a six percent increase.

Sarah Ramsey

So far the city is saving money by merging the administrative functions of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, the Metropolitan Sewer District and the stormwater utility.  

A council committee got an update Tuesday.  

The savings right now is projected to be $55 million during the next decade.  That is less than the initial feasibility study suggested, but officials are still crunching the numbers.  

Director Tony Parrott said so far, so good.

The Cincinnati Bengals are a step closer to getting that new scoreboard. Hamilton County is reviewing bids to replace the scoreboard and control room.

County finance specialist Erica Riehl expects the total will be about $10 million based on bids the county received.

The county is required to pay for the upgrade, however, under a bargain struck last year, the Bengals are chipping in $2.5 million.

The contract will likely be awarded by the end of the year.

Sarah Ramsey

The Hamilton County Commissioners are reemphasizing a ruling from a federal magistrate in June that the county gets to make the rules for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and the city of Cincinnati as the operator must follow them.  

The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday outlining county policies and directives for MSD that have been given in the past and adding some new ones.

Hamilton County Commission President Chris Monzel:

A federal magistrate ruled this morning that Cincinnati's responsible bidder ordinance is invalid and that Hamilton County makes the rules for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The county owns the sewer system, but the city operates it.

The city and the county have been fighting for more than two years over the responsible bidder ordinance, which would force MSD contractors to have apprentice programs and pay into a pre-apprenticeship fund. Unions favor the ordinance, because many of them have apprentice programs.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District, Tony Parrot, will participate in a national discussion on U.S. water infrastructure Wednesday in Washington D.C.

Parrot joins the U.S. EPA's Nancy Stoner, Veolia Water North America and Mark Strauss with American Waterin the Value of Water Coalition's national panel discussion to help other communities deal with crumbling water and wastewater infrastructure.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are officially asking a federal judge to intervene in their  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) dispute with Cincinnati.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to ask for a ruling on which body gets to set policies for the district.

The sewer district is owned by the county but operated by the city.

The sides have been at odds over hiring and procurement policies instituted by the city. County Commissioners argue the policies are unfair and in some cases illegal. City attorneys and a majority of council members disagree.

Hamilton County will go to federal court to try to settle a dispute with the city of Cincinnati over hiring practices for a massive Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) project.

Commission president Chris Monzel said the county will file its suit next week in U.S. District Court here.

"We're going to ask the court to weigh in on the relationship between the city and the county, particuarly on procurement issues,'' Monzel said.

The county owns MSD, but the city of Cincinnati operates it.

At issue is whether the county or the city gets to set policy for MSD.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are retaining Dinsmore & Shohl to review their plans to take the city of Cincinnati to court over a sewer district dispute.

The law firm is being asked to prepare the county's case and offer an outside opinion on which government entity it thinks is right. At issue is whether the county or the city gets to set policy for the Metropolitan Sewer District. The county owns the utility but it is operated by the city.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The debate over who sets policy for the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) is headed to a federal judge.

"We're beyond the negotiation phase," says Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann.

Hamilton County Commissioners and the City of Cincinnati are at odds over several city-instituted hiring procedures. The county says the hiring rules are illegal under Ohio Revised Code but the city argues it has home rule which trumps the O.R.C.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel is clarifying what he says are some misconceptions about the current Metropolitan Sewer District standoff with the City of Cincinnati. Specifically, procurement policies set forth by the city which the county says are unfair and in some cases illegal.

"First, at this point, only three projects are potentially being impacted due to this issue," he says. "Several others are awaiting technical evaluation and others are scheduled to be brought forward over the next several months. Many of the projects do not have time sensitive schedules."

Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) plans to reopen its water intakes along the Ohio River Thursday at 2 p.m. The utility reports water samples indicate the chemical from the Elk River spill in West Virginia has passed through the area.

“Our water quality team has not detected the chemical in the Ohio River water since 4:00 a.m. this morning,” said Tony Parrott, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District.

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