August 17, 2022
LENEXA, KAN. (AUG. 17, 2022) – 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. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which must approve proposed modifications to the sewer project, the revisions will 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. “These modifications represent MSD’s and the federal government’s commitments to environmental justice and reducing harmful discharges to our nation’s waters.”
MSD is about 10 years into completing the project, a massive effort 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. The project was approved by a federal district court in 2012, as part of a Consent Decree to resolve ongoing Clean Water Act violations alleged by EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Proposed revisions to the project include replacing two wastewater storage tunnels with a single storage tunnel. This modification will lessen traffic and reduce construction impacts in the Richmond Heights area, a community already disproportionately affected by heavy traffic and pollution exposure. The revision will also reduce the need for purchasing residential properties and easement acquisition, as well as allowing for easier access in and out of construction areas.
MSD’s proposed revisions to its sewer system project will be available for public review and comment for at least 30 days starting Aug. 10 and can be found online. The revisions must be approved by the court.
In the 10 years since the project commenced, MSD has accomplished the following:
- 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.
- Spent $1.6 million on closures of unauthorized sewer connections and septic tanks.
Environmental justice – addressing the disproportionate impacts of environmental harm on vulnerable communities – is a top priority for EPA. The Agency’s administrator, Michael S. Regan, has pledged to “infuse equity and environmental justice principles into all EPA practices, policies, and programs.”
Learn more about EPA’s environmental justice efforts.
# # #
Learn more about EPA Region 7
View all Region 7 news releases
Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion7
Follow us on Twitter: @EPARegion7