$4 million grant to address river erosion ‘cutting dangerously close’ to Middletown wastewater treatment plant

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A $4 million Ohio EPA grant has been awarded to the Miami Conservancy District in partnership with Middletown to address erosion along the Great Miami River bank that is “cutting dangerously close” to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to MCD officials.

“Over the last several decades, levees and dams have worked harder because of increased rainfall. Coupled with the age of the system, the infrastructure could degrade at a faster rate if left unaddressed,” said MaryLynn Lodor, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District.

To address priorities, the Miami Conservancy District is seeking numerous state and federal grants, in addition to a new assessment and increased rates being applied to updated property values. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program grant is the latest one awarded just last month.

The project is slated to begin this year and run through 2027. It covers approximately 13 acres along the river, just south of State Route 73 near Trenton. The project area includes both right and left banks totaling 3,000 linear feet of streambank along the river, according to the Miami Conservancy District.

The wastewater plant is adjacent to a Miami Conservancy District levee that helps to keep the area safe from floodwaters. This section of the river is downstream of a drainage area of approximately 3,190 square miles, making it one of the largest drainage basins in the state, according to MCD officials.

Sarah Hippensteel, MCD manager of communications said, the wastewater treatment plant has lost “many, many tens of feet of land, and it is moving closer to the infrastructure of the plant all the time. We also have a levee right there ... the improvement work is going to stop that erosion.”

Lodor told Middletown City Council at a March meeting the Middletown project “has been on our radar as a issue of risk for several years and we applied for it (grant) in 2022 and didn’t get it.”

After modifying the specs and resubmission in 2023, the grant was awarded, she said.

Lodor said the project is part of “aging infrastructure” that needs attention throughout the MCD.

Key elements of the project design will mitigate erosion and create diverse aquatic habitat, effectively curbing bank undercutting while improving water quality and restoring and bolstering aquatic populations.

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