Stormwater management | St. Louis Public Radio

Stormwater management

Part of the $4.7 million sewer system upgrade involves removing illegal sewer bypasses, like the one pictured here.
Ted Heisel | Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is building a three-mile sewer line underneath the city of Ladue to address overflow problems in the area.

The $62.5 million project, which began in September, is being constructed along Deer Creek in St. Louis County. The work will help the utility comply with a $4.7 billion consent decree from a 2012 Clean Water Act lawsuit

Workers are building a 2.6-mile trunk sewer to help prevent sewer overflows when it rains, said Rebecca Losli, a program manager for MSD. 

One of many tunnels in St. Louis that collects sewage and rain water.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District a $48 million loan to build pump stations and sewers to help divert stormwater runoff in St. Louis County.

The federal loan funds nearly half of the $97 million cost to construct the series of wastewater projects that will be connected to the Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel. The 4-mile underground tunnel, which would run through Webster Groves, Brentwood, Richmond Heights and other nearby municipalities, is designed to collect and separate wastewater from sewage. MSD began building the tunnel earlier this year.

Workers for the Metropolitan Sewer District begin to demolish a house on Greer Avenue as a part of program to turn vacant properties into green spaces in March 2017.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis and the U.S. Geological Survey this month are starting a study to determine if filling demolition sites with clean soil instead of building materials can help address one of St. Louis’ biggest environmental problems: sewage overflows.

Typically, contractors working for the city fill the basement with concrete and other materials from the demolished building. In north St. Louis, they recently began filling some basements with soil that’s been tested for environmental toxins. City and federal officials want to compare how well the two methods can absorb stormwater runoff.

Gas extraction wells on the Bridgeton Landfill in summer 2016.
File Photo |Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents and environmental activists expressed concerns at a public hearing Wednesday night that the state's pending stormwater permit for the Bridgeton Landfill does not require monitoring for radioactive waste. 

The Bridgeton Landfill sits above an underground smoldering fire, located about 600 feet from the World War II-era radioactive waste that's under the West Lake Landfill Superfund site. Concerns about radioactive contamination in stormwater rose over the summer, when the Missouri Department of Natural Resources released a report showing levels of alpha particles in runoff at Bridgeton Landfill that exceeded drinking water standards after heavy rains in late April. Alpha particles are a type of radiation that does not pierce the skin and must be ingested to damage human health.

Workers for the Metropolitan Sewer District begin to demolish a house on Greer Avenue as a part of program to turn vacant properties into green spaces in March 2017.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has started demolishing abandoned buildings to kick off a $13.5 million project to build green spaces in the city.

The Urban Greening Program is a part of MSD’s $100 million initiative to divert rainwater from entering the city’s sewers and contaminating local waterways. It’s also a key portion of a settlement agreement in 2012 with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency that requires the sewer district to spend $4.7 billion over the next two decades on improvements to sewer systems in St. Louis and St. Louis County, a larger effort called Project Clear.

Provided by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Engineering researchers at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are helping the Illinois Department of Transportation develop strategies for managing stormwater runoff on highways.

Highways and roads interrupt the natural flow of water during rains and especially heavy precipitation could cause much of the runoff to overload sewers. Runoff also can taint the water quality of the rivers and streams that it enters.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 26, 2013 - The Metropolitan Sewer District is officially kicking off its massive construction campaign to comply with a $4.7 billion consent decree. It's also launching a public engagement push to spotlight where the tax dollars are going.

MSD earlier this week kicked off “Project Clear,” an umbrella term used to describe projects being done to satisfy the mutli-billion settlement addressing wastewater overflows throughout the system serving St. Louis and St. Louis County. The projects are to be completed over a 23-year period.

Commentary: MSD and sustainable infrastructure

Feb 8, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. In St. Louis, when it pours, it pollutes. The reason: our mostly 19th-century systems for managing wastewater and stormwater lack the capacity to process the huge amounts of water that enter these systems during storm events. As a consequence, the excess - and untreated -- waste and storm waters are diverted from the system into urban streams and rivers or back up onto streets and into houses and commercial buildings.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2010 - Consider that many children living in St. Louis have very little connection with nature. Their experience is often limited to what they see on TV or the internet. Operation Brightside wants to change all of that by establishing a Demonstration Garden and Learning Center on one of the most-heavily traveled intersections in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2009 - The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, which covers all of the city of St. Louis and roughly 80 percent of St. Louis County, is embarking on what district officials are calling "one of the largest public infrastructure programs in our area's history."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - As far as Brian Nieves knows, no governmental body in Missouri has ever conducted an official business session in any language other than English. He wants to keep it that way.