Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

(Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District)

Updated April 29, 7:30 p.m.

With the Mississippi River below 33 feet, MSD says it no longer has to use the pumps, and the flow of untreated wastewater into the river has stopped. The temporary pumps will remain in place.

Updated April 29, 4 p.m.

MSD officials say that with the Mississippi River dropping, the flow of untreated sewage has slowed to 16 million gallons a day. Crews continue to work on installing two temporary pumps to replace the ones that failed. The cause of the failure is still under investigation.

(via MSD)

The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District has named its new executive director, Brian Hoelscher.

Hoelscher takes over the job from Jonathon Sprague, who served as interim executive director since January. Jeff Theerman had the job since 2004 and had announced his retirement effective Jan. 11.

(provided by MSD)

A nearly eight-year veteran of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District will be the agency's interim executive director.

MSD announced today that Jonathon Sprague, its current director of operations, will succeed Jeff Theerman on a temporary basis when Theerman retires on Jan. 11, 2013.

Andrew Wamboldt/KOMU News - via Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court will decide whether the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District can charge for stormwater service based on how much water a property absorbs.  

The decision extends a nearly four-year-old legal battle over the agency’s so-called "impervious fee." Two lower courts have ruled that it was not a fee at all, but a tax – and therefore had to be approved by voters under the Hancock Amednment.

(photo courtesy of Ron Cox)

The remnants of Hurricane Isaac ended a summer-long dry spell. But for some customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, it meant flooded backyards and basements.

For decades, MSD funded its stormwater service with a patchwork of different taxes, which allowed the agency to meet its regulatory requirements. But repairs were a different story.

Some parts of the region were flush with cash for capital projects. It took others months or years to accumulate enough funds for even basic repairs.

Earlier this year, a state appeals court struck down a potential solution - a fee based on how much water a property could absorb. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is pending.

For now, MSD has gone back to its old taxing districts - allowing the lingering problems to get worse.

Rams and CVC enter arbitration

The St. Louis Rams are heading to arbitration over what to do about the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the facility and leases it to the Rams, voted Thursday to begin the arbitration process. The two sides remain far apart on plans to upgrade the dome. The 30-year lease signed when the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles prior to the 1995 season requires the dome to be among the top quarter of NFL stadiums in 15 separate categories. If it isn't, the team can break the lease after the 2014 season. Negotiations began in February with the CVC proposing $124 million in improvements. The Rams countered with a much broader plan that city officials said could cost $700 million.

Today, the board of trustees of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is expected to finalize a series sewer rate increases - the result of voter approval of Proposition Y on June 5.

MSD spokesperson Lance LeComb says those increases will slowly phase in over the next four years, like this:

(courtesy of Ted Heisel/Missouri Coalition for the Environment)

Updated at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to correct election date error and add vote totals.

There was sparse voter turnout but overwhelming support for a major bond issue Tuesday that will allow the Metropolitan St. Louis  Sewer District, to gradually increase rates to pay for necessary upgrades.

Referred to as Proposition Y, the bond issue’s passage means the average MSD customer’s bill will go up from around $29 a month to nearly $44 over the next four years.  That's compared to almost $65 a month had the bond issue not been approved. 

(courtesy of Ted Heisel/Missouri Coalition for the Environment)

Customers of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District can expect a bigger bill in July.  A vote tomorrow will determine if those increases are gradual or immediate.

(Véronique LaCapra)

The minority business advocacy group MOKAN says the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is not doing enough to include local minority and female workers in its sewer upgrade projects.

MOKAN executive director Yaphett El-Amin says her group wants MSD to increase the transparency of its hiring practices and invest at least $23.5 million in worker training programs.