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A new storm-water pipeline in downtown Cincinnati seems to be doing its job of alleviating a decades-old problem of raw sewage polluting the city's river after heavy rains.
In 1998, the Ohio River was declared "unhealthful" for recreational use for six straight weeks in June and July. After the new pipe this year, the water has reached an unhealthful level only once since early May, although the rainfall has been heavier this year.
The $10.7 million pipeline runs 2,720 feet, measures 8 feet in diameter and can hold about 1 million gallons of storm water. The Metropolitan Sewer District predicted the new pipe would cut the number of downtown sewer overflows into the Ohio River from about 150 a year to less than 10.
"It looks like good news," said Cincinnati Health Commissioner Malcolm Adcock. "They (MSD) continue to work on those combined sewer overflows. That was a major problem area."
Many of Cincinnati's underground sewer lines carry waste from toilets and storm water from streets in single pipes. When rainstorms hit, the storm-water flow in the pipes can overwhelm the system and bypass treatment plants during extreme flows. Raw sewage is allowed untreated into waterways.
The new pipe intercepts the north-south downtown feeder lines and carries the water to a treatment plant. A chamber built into the pipe slows storm-water surges, which helps the treatment plant handle the flow by allowing the pipe itself to serve as a temporary storage tank.
In 1996, MSD started a 20-year, $332 million effort to eliminate many of the sewer overflow points in its system. This year, MSD is working on 11 overflow-control projects.
(Source: Cincinnati Enquirer)