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MSD tries new approach in public meeting aimed to solve sewage backups in U. City

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is listening again to public comment regarding plans for a waste water storage tank in University City.  MSD hosted a public hearing at the Mandarin House Banquet Center Wednesday night.

The plan stems from an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.  Building a waste water storage tank would help reduce sewage backups and runoffs, according to MSD.

“We do have dozens to hundreds of basement backups when we do have heavy rainfalls,” said MSD spokesman Lance LeComb.  “In particular we have millions of gallons of sewage going into the River Des Peres on an annual basis.”

MSD presented different options to University City staff, the City Council and citizens but there was pushback after those meetings. MSD is now staring over sharing plans with all parties.

Several different options were presented Wednesday.  Plans range from one to two tanks and could involve tanks above or underground.  Some plans also include buyouts including the Hafner Court apartment complex.  Some nearby homes could also be included in a buyout.

“I’m concerned because this is my home here and I own this home and I don’t want to give up my home,” said University City resident Ann Williams.

“These tanks will literally destroy the market value of those homes around it,” said University City resident Byron Price.

MSD says the tanks are needed in that general area because of where the existing sewer system is located.

“In essence, you have here something as a traffic jam that’s occurring with the capacity of the sewer system and so this is where the bottleneck is being created during a heavy rainfall,” said LeComb.  “So, this is where we need to have the solution.”

Some citizens also expressed safety concerns questioning what would happen if the tanks malfunctioned.  MSD officials say they are not aware of such problems with other tanks.  LeComb said sewage is already flowing through neighborhood sewers so nothing new is being brought into the neighborhood.  He said that tanks would only activate during heavy rains and would not have sewage and rainwater in them constantly.

MSD is hosting another public forum Monday, October 30th at the Mandarin Hose Banquet Center located at 8004 Olive.