First phase of 25-year Middletown project nearing completion at Sunset Park

Construction work continues at Sunset Park Wednesday, Nov. 6 on the first phase of Middletown’s $269 million project to repair sewer overflow issues. The $2.71 million project is the first of several in the 25-year Long Term Control Plan established by the consent decree with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to correct sewer overflows into the Great Miami River. The project includes constructing a storm sewer to intercept a portion of the flow from the Bulls Run stream where it enters the combined sewer system near the intersection of Sheldon Road and Santa Fe Drive. City officials said the intercepted flow from the drainage area will be redirected to an approximately one-acre regional green infrastructure retention basin located at Sunset Park, reducing storm water loading to the combined sewer system. The new features are designed to not detract from the park’s character. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Construction work continues at Sunset Park Wednesday, Nov. 6 on the first phase of Middletown’s $269 million project to repair sewer overflow issues. The $2.71 million project is the first of several in the 25-year Long Term Control Plan established by the consent decree with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to correct sewer overflows into the Great Miami River. The project includes constructing a storm sewer to intercept a portion of the flow from the Bulls Run stream where it enters the combined sewer system near the intersection of Sheldon Road and Santa Fe Drive. City officials said the intercepted flow from the drainage area will be redirected to an approximately one-acre regional green infrastructure retention basin located at Sunset Park, reducing storm water loading to the combined sewer system. The new features are designed to not detract from the park’s character. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Work on the first project of Middletown’s 25-year, $269 million effort to repair sewer overflow issues into the Great Miami River is nearing completion.

The bulk of the $2.71 million project in the Sunset Park area that was mandated by a federal consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to be completed by early December, weather permitting, said Scott Tadych, city public works and utilities director.

The project got a slow start due to heavy rain in June, but the contractor made progress. Tadych said the contractor has completed installation of the new water main and storm sewer on Sheldon Road between Kenwood and Santa Fe drives. The project also included improvements to those streets including waterline replacement, full-width paving and curb repairs.

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“They are finishing up concrete work including new curbs and sidewalks in preparation for paving in the next couple of weeks,” he said in an email. “In the park, they are finishing up the ledgestone seat wall that surrounds the basin.”

Tadych said the new playground equipment should go in soon, along with concrete walking paths and a pedestrian bridge.

“The final turf restoration, landscaping and clean-up will take place in the spring of 2020,” he said.

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Tadych said a park reopening event will be held in early May 2020. The park has been closed since spring.

The project, which is one of several planned, includes constructing a storm sewer to intercept a portion of the flow from the Bulls Run stream where it enters the combined sewer system near the intersection of Sheldon Road and Santa Fe Drive.

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City officials said the intercepted flow from the drainage area will be redirected to an approximately one-acre basin at Sunset Park, reducing storm water in the sewer system.

The new features are designed to not detract from the park’s character. It will also feature a cobblestone channel surrounded by aesthetic plantings to manage water quality and be bounded by a ledgestone seat wall and the planting of 40 new trees.

Under the agreement, the city will construct storage basins and other improvements to its sewer system and sewage treatment plant over 25 years that will reduce the frequency and volume of its untreated sewer overflows.

In December 2017, Middletown City Council approved the proposed consent decree with the EPA. That settlement was finalized by the federal government in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in early 2018.

According to the EPA, the city discharged 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.

The city was to pay a penalty of $55,000 and spend $200,000 on a project in the canal to protect aquatic life from contaminated sediments.

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