This is the aeration system where biological activity takes place at the Middletown Wastewater Treatment Plant on Oxford State Road Thursday, Oct. 6. Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins is recommending a 7.5 percent water-rate increase and a 15 percent sewer-rate increase in 2017, along with a 75-cent-per-month trash pickup increase next year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Federal government gives final approval on Middletown’s $269M sewer plan

The settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Middletown City Council approved the agreement in late December.

City Manager Doug Adkins declined to comment on Monday’s announcement by the federal government.

MORE: Middletown to spend $265M to resolve EPA enforcement claims

According to the EPA, the city currently discharges millions of gallons of untreated sewage each year from its sewer system during and after rain events through its eight “combined sewer overflow” outfalls. Untreated sewage can contain disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites, as well as pollutants that can harm aquatic life.

Under the new agreement, the city will construct storage basins and other improvements to its sewer system and sewage treatment plant over the next 25 years that will substantially reduce the frequency and volume of its untreated sewer overflows. The city estimates this work will cost about $269 million. Additionally, the city will pay a penalty of $55,000 and spend $200,000 on a project in the canal to protect aquatic life from contaminated sediments.

MORE: Middletown raising sewer rates in advance of mandatory improvements

“EPA is committed to keeping raw sewage out of our local waterways and communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Today’s settlement will result in significant infrastructure improvements that will protect water quality and human health.”

“Today’s agreement will lead to water quality improvements that will benefit local communities along this important river corridor,” Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler said. “Ohio EPA is ready to help Middletown finance these projects through our low-interest loan program.”

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.