St Louis MSD Consent Decree
Though most overflows predate MSD’s creation in 1954, they are still our responsibility, and efforts to address the problem must continue. From 1992 to 2010, MSD spent approximately $2.3 billion to remove more than 300 overflows. To address the remaining overflows, of which there are fewer than 400, we must increase our collection and treatment capabilities – an expensive, complicated, and decades-long task.
In August 2011, the Department of Justice filed a settlement, or consent decree, requiring MSD to spend a minimum $4.7 billion over the next 23 years to address the issue of overflows and other sewer system improvements.
The consent decree agreement between MSD, the EPA, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment has been accepted by the United States District Court. The consent decree has been entered and went into effect on April 27, 2012.
“For MSD, Project Clear is about three central goals: Clear Priorities, Clear Communications and Clear Water,” said Lance LeComb, spokesperson for MSD.
Project Clear will involve several types of projects across the St. Louis area, ranging in scale from massive underground tunnels to carry the volume of water needed in a growing region with more paved surfaces, to the disconnection of residential downspouts from the wastewater sewer line.
Project Clear’s initial objective is removing rain from the wastewater sewer system in order to address basement backups and sewer overflows, and improve water quality for the whole region.
Much of the excess water that contributes to backups and overflows comes during storms, heavy rain or significant snow melt, through downspouts, sump pumps, and area stormwater drains that are connected directly to the wastewater sewer. In most cases, removing these connections from the wastewater sewer is so important to dealing with these problems that MSD will remove them at no cost to property owners.
Consent Decree Modifications
1. Revision of CSO Control Measure Design Criteria – Appendix D (Lemay CSO Outfall 063)
2. Amendment to Consent Decree – Appendix D, Appendix E (Bissell Point Outfalls 051 and 052, Maline Creek CSO Controls, Post-Construction Monitoring Program)
3. Alternative Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP)
4. Revisions of CSO Control Measure Design Criteria – Appendix D, Appendix E (Lemay CSO Outfall 063 and River Des Peres Storage Tunnels)
Consent Decree Related Links