METRO SEWER DISTRICT WASTEWATER BALLOT ISSUE
The voters of the City of St Louis and the County of St Louis will vote on April 7th on the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) Bond Issue and Rate Proposal for wastewater. The MSD was formed on February 9, 1954, when voters approved the Plan of the District (Charter) to provide a metropolitanwide system of wastewater and stormwater facilities. MSD began operations in January 1956 in an area roughly composed of the City of St. Louis and the portion of St. Louis County located east of Interstate 270. MSD took over the publicly owned wastewater and stormwater drainage facilities within its jurisdiction and began the construction of an extensive system of collector and interceptor sewers and treatment facilities. Most of the remainder of St. Louis County was annexed by MSD in 1977.
MSD’s Rate Commission was established in 2000. The Commission consists of 15 member organizations that represent a broad cross-section of the customers and community MSD serves. The LWV Metro STL is one of 15 community groups represented on the Rate Commission. Mickey Croyle is the current League Commissioner. The Commission’s purpose is to provide public input into how MSD sets its rates. The Commission is required by Charter to review all Rate Proposals and render an opinion before submitting Rate Proposals to the Board of Trustees for approval.
The Rate Commission process includes multiple public hearings throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area where MSD customers have an opportunity to provide feedback on the Rate Proposal. The Rate Commission approved the MSD request to seek Bond Financing to decrease the increase in rates for the ratepayers after a lengthy and detailed study. Voters will be voting to approve the bond issue, if this fails the rates will be substantially higher.
The MSD is both a wastewater and stormwater utility. It is the 4th largest sewer system in the United States. Funds for each are accounted for separately. The 2020 MSD Rate Proposal is for wastewater. The proposal objective is required by federal and state regulatory requirements and the EPA/Missouri Coalition for the Environment Consent Decree Litigation Settlement.
The rate proposal will provide funding to:
1. Eliminate sanitary (wastewater) sewer overflows from sewer pipes.
2. Reduce combined sewer overflows (where wastewater and stormwater share a pipe)
3. Prevent building backups
4. Repair and rehabilitate the aging MSD system
5. Replace the incinerators at the Bissell and Lemay treatment plants
6. Build a tunnel from Fenton Treatment plant to lower Meramec plant to eliminate the Fenton Plant.
These actions are required under the consent decree.
The League of Women Voters of Metro Saint Louis Board voted to support the MSD Wastewater ballot issue using the numerous Natural Resource and Environmental Quality positions on water quality and waste management.