In the next few weeks, improvements at Sunset Park and the adjacent neighborhood will mark the completion of Middletown’s first project in its 25-year, $269 million Long Term Control Plan mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The city signed a consent decree with the EPA to develop the program to address sewer overflow issues into the Great Miami River.
Scott Tadych, public works/utilities director, said the park and playground are not open yet as contractors are completing the finishing work for the estimated $2.71 million project that also included a new water main, curbs, sidewalks and storm sewer on Sheldon Road between Kenwood and Santa Fe drives.
The storm sewer is designed 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.
Tadych said other finishing projects include a concrete patio and shelter next to the playground and parking lot paving.
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.
In addition, the park now has a ledgestone seat wall that surrounds a new basin, new playground equipment, a pedestrian bridge and concrete walking paths.
After the city closed the park last spring, construction got off to a late start in June 2019 due to heavy rainfall. The final turf restoration, landscaping and site clean up was to be completed this spring. About 40 trees were to be planted at the park.
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.
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.
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.
Tadych said the $10 million to $12 million Lakeside Stormwater Redirection Project is next on the list of projects in the Long Term Control Plan was identified to reduce the storm water contribution to the combined sewer system from the Lakeside drainage area.
City officials said the proposed project will collect storm water from this 291-acre drainage area through a new trunk sewer estimated to 3,000 feet in length and 36 inches in diameter. In addition, a pump station will be constructed to lift collected storm flow through approximately 4,000 feet of 18-inch diameter force-main so it can flow to the Hydraulic Canal where it crosses Germantown Road.
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