Home buyouts being considered for flood prone University City neighborhood

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI) – Heavy rains over the Memorial Day weekend could mean more trouble for people in University City.

Some residents living near Olive Boulevard and Hafner Place have struggled with sewage backing up into their basements for years; much of that water is sewage.

Sewage water is also flowing into the River Des Peres at that location.

The Metropolitan Sewer District is looking at possible buyouts to fix the problem. MSD met with the city council in a work session earlier in the week about their proposal.

“We're at a choke point in this area where we have several sewers coming to one location. It's causing a capacity issue,” said Lance LeComb, a spokesperson with MSD.

“The problem is, during moderate to heavy rainstorms, we get too much storm water in the sewer system.”

MSD has a legal agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment to fix the problem. It could mean buyouts in this neighborhood to build 30 to 40 foot tall sewage storage tanks so water goes into the tanks instead of basements and the river.

Some neighbors said others who were tired of dealing with the foul flooding already left their homes, which are sitting empty. So a buyout would be a win-win.

“It's not like they're trying to move people out to build something that's not needed,” said John Greer, a resident in the neighborhood. “This area floods all the time and it's always backed up with sewage and we need something or somewhere for it to go.”

The project will fall into the $4.7 billion improvement plan already approved by taxpayers, known as MSD Project Clear.

MSD is planning a meeting with the community and city sometime in late June to get feedback on the proposal.