Delhi Township residents fear big storm will force more MSD sewage into their basements

Resident: 'I'm always worried' about heavy rain
MSD's combined sewer overflow running out of Allison Meiners' Delhi Township home in June
Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 22, 2021

DELHI TOWNSHIP, OH — Allison Meiners grabbed a snow shovel June 7 and scooped piles of sewage that filled the basement of her Delhi Township home.

"It was disgusting," Meiners told the WCPO 9 I-Team.

Allison Meiners
Allison Meiners

Meiners said the Metro Sewer District's foul-smelling combined sewer overflow has poured into her basement three times during the last three years.

"Anything that people have put in their toilets was sitting in my basement for hours," Meiners said.

The Metro Sewer District is under a federal consent decree requiring the agency to reduce the combined sewer overflow that filled Meiner's basement and has contaminated water for decades.

MSD said it has reduced CSOs by 6 billion gallons a year, but admits there's still an estimated 8 billion gallons of overflow every year.

Meiners next door neighbor, John Hoffman, said his basement has flooded twice in the last two years with foul-smelling storm water runoff and, at times, sewage because heavy rain still overwhelms MSD's system.

"I would just like a sewer system that I don't have to worry about backing up into my house," Hoffman said.

John Hoffman
John Hoffman

Hoffman said he applied for an MSD program that would put a valve on a pipe from the street to his home that could solve his problem.

Meiners said she applied for it, too, but was turned down because MSD claimed it wasn't 'the right type of flooding' to qualify for the program.

"It's very frustrating," Meiners said.

In a statement, MSD said, 'If the backup is determined to be caused by the MSD public sewer, MSD typically offers professional cleaning services and reimbursement of damages.'

MSD said it receives 'thousands of reports of potential sewer backups each year, only about 15% are due to the MSD public sewer.'

Following a massive August 2016 storm, MSD said it 'paid more than $12.5 million to resolve 1,369 damage claims. All but five of those claims were settled by November 2019. To date, there are still 3 unresolved damage claims that are awaiting a decision by the federal magistrate.'

MSD confirmed it Meiners reported sewer backups three times during the last three years, including June 7, 2021 when 'another blockage in the public sewer caused a sewer backup' at the homes owned by Meiners and Hoffman.

MSD said it made a settlement offer.

'Neither offer has been accepted yet,' MSD said in the statement. 'Because these sewer backups were caused by blockages in the public sewer, not a capacity issue, neither property is eligible for MSD’s backup prevention program.'

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