arc-mississippi_001One of our significant goals at Project Clear is to provide relief for neighborhoods with basement backups and sewer overflows. In many cases, the most cost-effective way to reduce backups in the wastewater sewer is to get the rainwater out of that system. Far too many homes and buildings have relied on the wastewater pipes in their yards to remove stormwater. This causes our friends and neighbors throughout the region to suffer from basement backups and sewer overflows.

Crews at MSD have been working to reduce backups for a long time, and the new planning, design, and construction projects under Project Clear are in progress. Below are some questions associated with MSD’s efforts to get the rain out of the wastewater sewer.

Q: What is Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) doing, and why?

A: Removing rain from the wastewater sewer system is part of MSD’s initiative to improve water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region. It will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designing, and building community rainscaping, system improvements, and an ambitious program of maintenance and repair.

Q: Why are stormwater connections a problem?

A: The wastewater sewer lines are designed to handle wastewater only. Consider a moderate to heavy rainfall. When a home or building also has stormwater connecting into its wastewater system, basement backups and sewer overflows can be the result. The backup may not happen to the home or building with the connections – or even to a home in your neighborhood – yet those same connections can contribute to overflows and backups of untreated wastewater through the web of pipes that make up the wastewater sewer system. MSD seeks to reduce the number of basement backups in the region by helping the wastewater sewer do what it was designed to do – transport and treat wastewater only.

Q: Aren’t there better ways to reduce backups than by going house to house?

A: MSD has learned that removing neighborhood-level stormwater from the wastewater system is the most cost-effective option for addressing basement backups and overflows. This activity also creates the most immediate results for those homes downstream of these connections that experience untreated wastewater backing into their basements and yards. Working together, we can get the rain out.


Like to learn more?