BY ANNE MICHAUD
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Metropolitan Sewer District has lifted a moratorium on tap-ins to the sewer system, which was in effect for northern Hamilton County from Forest Park east to Sycamore Township.
About two dozen developments were affected by the moratorium, which began in late June.
"They (the sewer district) reacted too quickly," Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin said Thursday following a meeting with the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and township and city officials.
Paul Tomes, acting director of MSD, said moratorium is a strong word. The district put a short hold on new approvals until it could calculate its water flow. It found flow was less than was believed in early summer.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency gives credits to MSD to add tap-ins each time the district reduces flow into the sewer. Flow can be reduced when groundwater leaks are repaired or when a customer uses less water because it has changed from a factory to an office building, for example.
"We knew we had more requests than we had credits available, so we didn't dole out the last few credits," Mr. Tomes said.
Affected were Forest Park, Springdale, Sharonville, Evendale, Blue Ash and Sycamore Township.
The moratorium started because of overflows in a sanitary sewer, Mr. Dowlin said, and MSD is pursuing some remedies.
The district is repairing a line that allows water to flow in. It is planning to replace the overflowing sewer with a holding tank and treatment plant, which could take two to five years to complete. A hindrance to both projects has been difficulty convincing land owners to provide rights-of-way, Mr. Tomes said.
Mr. Dowlin criticized MSD for calling a moratorium without notifying county commissioners or local elected leaders. He said the county commission will be writing a new policy on when sewer taps can be denied.
"Instead of unilaterally taking this position, they should have come to us and said, "We've got a problem here,' " he said. "This hurts economic development."