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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sewers
    Posted: Jul 07 2008 at 5:40pm
In case you haven't noticed, our aging uderground sewer system is beginning to collapse all over town, particularly in the older areas. The downtown Main Street area is a disaster waiting to happen.
 
The price tag for this fix may well exceed any cost of long-term fixing the streets, and the sewer system is a more necessary priority.
 
Wouldn't it make more sense(and be considerably more cosst effective) to address the sewer piping problem B4 fixing the streets?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 08 2008 at 7:04am
Spider
You are correct about our aging sewer system and the need for repair ASAP.
It would be cost effective to repair the sewers and then replace road surface.
It is my understanding that many homes and businesses in the older areas have had problems with raw sewage in their basements after heavy rains.
And to add to this problems we no longer have street sweepers to keep all the trash from going into the sewer system also.
I think if we are going to continue to invest large sums of money into the downtown area this should be a major part of the master plan.
Why can't some of the grant money be used to repair the sewers and streets in a historic district?
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arwendt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arwendt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 08 2008 at 10:53am

Here is a really good video from a September 2007 Council meeting where there is a lengthy presentation on the Middletown Sewer Problem.

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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 08 2008 at 1:26pm
thank you Mr.Wendt.
ugh
 
I have always had tremendous respect and confidence in Mr.Duritsch
I hope we hold on to him and he continues to advance within city admin.
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Analytical View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2018 at 12:53pm
Originally posted by spiderjohn spiderjohn wrote:


In case you haven't noticed, our aging uderground sewer system is beginning to collapse all over town, particularly in the older areas. The downtown Main Street area is a disaster waiting to happen.
 
The price tag for this fix may well exceed any cost of long-term fixing the streets, and the sewer system is a more necessary priority.
 
Wouldn't it make more sense(and be considerably more cosst effective) to address the sewer piping problem B4 fixing the streets?


Spider -

Do you or anyone else know if there's anything new to report on discussions between the U.S. EPA and the city?  Wasn't the estimated cost to bring the city into compliance with EPA standards several hundreds of millions of dollars?  Where's the bacon?
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MattR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 08 2018 at 6:26pm
As a side note to this, to the best of my knowledge:
For the past 4 or 5 years the internal city policy was that we were not going to comply.  The city believed that if they delayed long enough they could argue to the EPA that the water quality goals of the program had been met and thus the EPA's enforcement authority was expired.  Yeah, its the explaining HUD to HUD all over again.  Well, we've been not just in non-compliance, we've been in violation for 3 years.  If you notice on the spreadsheet cited in the city managers blog we are the farthest behind of any Ohio city.  Remember that this is a program to stop uncontrolled releases of raw sewage into the river, streams, ponds and ditches in Middletown.  I guess the city has given up on the tack they were taking, but I'll believe it when I see it.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote wannaknow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 13 2018 at 5:37am
The State of Ohio has filed against the city of Middletown bc of the water pollution and are posing some stiff fines. Who down at city hall is responsible for this? Can we citizens file a class action suit against the city? 
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middletownscouter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middletownscouter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 13 2018 at 7:36am
https://www.courthousenews.com/deal-with-feds-requires-ohio-city-to-fix-sewer-system/

Deal With Feds Requires Ohio City to Fix Sewer System
February 12, 2018 KEVIN KOENINGER
CINCINNATI (CN) – A southwestern Ohio city reached a settlement with the state and federal government on Friday over claims that it has illegally discharged untreated sewage into the Great Miami River for a decade.

A federal lawsuit filed Friday in Cincinnati federal court alleges Middletown, Ohio, repeatedly violated its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits by discharging illegal amounts of chlorine, ammonia, and fecal bacteria from its wastewater treatment plant into the river since 2008.

The plant and its collection system serve approximately 52,000 people and consist of over 342 miles of pipe.

Ohio and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also claim the city discharged sewage during “times that were not ‘wet weather periods,’” another violation of its permits, and that its discharge of chemicals from its eight sewer overflow locations endangered local residents and wildlife and exposed them to dangerous bacteria.

The parties filed a consent decree Friday, in which Middletown admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to replace or repair substantial portions of its sewer pipes to comply with the Clean Water Act.

Middletown also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $55,000, comprised of $27,500 each for the state and federal governments.

EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp said the agency “is committed to keeping raw sewage out of our local waterways and communities.”

“Today’s settlement will result in significant infrastructure improvements that will protect water quality and human health,” she said in a statement.

Neither the Ohio attorney general’s office nor the city of Middletown immediately responded Monday to requests for comment.

EPA attorney Nicholas McDaniel filed the suit on behalf of the U.S. government and Ohio.


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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 14 2018 at 9:14pm

Thanks to middletownscouter’s post we can read, firsthand, (at https://www.courthousenews.com/deal-with-feds-requires-ohio-city-to-fix-sewer-system/) about the court orders which will finally force the city to separate the storm and waste water sewers.


EPA’s law suit does not address the question of why there is no money to pay for this increasingly expensive project (because the cost inflates with every year that passes).


Sewer separation charges (which appeared on your bill as “sewer charges”) have been applied to the city water bills since the 1970’s, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. It was never meant to go beyond a specified number of years, say 10, when it was expected to have paid off the project. About 15 years ago the city falsely claimed the additional, separate “storm water sewer charge” (plus an illegal 2 dollar “program fee??”) which they added to water bills was “Federally mandated” – not true. The only mandated charge was the original “sewer charge.”


So, where did all that money go, you ask? And why were none of the sewer charges used to separate the sewers?


Our 3 previous and current (Mr Adkins) city managers have lead the city councils (knowingly or unknowingly?) to misuse the sewer funds as a slush fund – dipping into it at will - moving chunks of money from and to what Mr Adkins’ finance department calls “various funds” - hiding the trail of misappropriation (Federal offense?), never to replenish the sewer funds. The evidence of this maneuver is in practically every council agenda as “transfers between various funds” without description of what funds or for what purpose – all automatically approved by council without any discussion because Mr Adkins said to do so. Total disregard for Sunshine Law!!


And council continues to think Mr Adkins is so wonderful! Why? He has lead the path to ruin and bankruptcy and been rewarded for it!


Who believes that the funds should be replaced by those responsible for their disappearance?!?! The alternative is that we, the taxpayers, will pay again – but at a much higher price because of the delay.


We need to go en-mass (pitchforks and torches in hand if necessary) to confront city hall. But we must first find a way to inform all the city taxpayers of this impending doom in order to garner their support. Journal News and Ed Richter are in Adkins’ pocket. Investigative reporter Craig Cheatham on Channel 9 News comes to mind.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2018 at 11:24am

Below is Mr Adkins’ recent post found on the newly revised city website. (It wasn’t easy to find the Manager’s Blog. The “site tools” button, in tiny type at the bottom of the page, gives you a drop down menu and you must chose “site map” and scroll down the list of contents to City Manager. Also under site map is the Financial Transparency Portal under Finance Dept, if you are interested in trying to decipher it.

Adkins is telling his story with a typical slanted spin. He describes the news station’s story as inaccurate. Stories are not necessarily based in fact. The facts are contained in the Consent Decree at https://www.courthousenews.com/deal-with-feds-requires-ohio-city-to-fix-sewer-system/

Here’s Adkins’ story with comments highlighted in italics.

EPA Sewer Agreement Information FEBRUARY 14, 2018

Over the weekend, an inaccurate story came out regarding the Long Term Control Plan we agreed upon with the EPA. The news station (what news station?) who posted the article has since updated the story with an Editor’s Note (where?), but we know there are questions and want to clarify as much as possible.

This is all part of the Long Term Control Plan that we’ve been talking about as a city and with the EPA for over ten years. The lawsuit discussed in the story is the completion of the process, not the beginning. The Consent Decree in the lawsuit represents the completed deal.


The news story seems to indicate that the city has long been in litigation and has paid lawyers and court costs unnecessarily for over ten years, just to avoid doing what they will have to do eventually anyway --- that is separate the sewers. The Long Term Control Plan is a detour, a plan doomed for failure and a waste of more time and money since it doesn’t separate the sewers. Also the Consent Decree does not specifically say Adkins’ Long Term Control Plan is a feasible solution. If Middletown tries to implement the Long Term Control Plan and it fails as a solution (and such folly surely will fail), the city will be fined heavily again and will be back to square one after having wasted more time and money on Adkins’ folly instead of just complying with EPA orders to separate the sewers.


Every city in Ohio that was built in the same time frame as Middletown is going through this process and also has had to address these issues. That was the standard construction of sewers at the time. It was the best practice in place at the time, over 100 years ago. If you look at my earlier blog posts, you can see the large number of cities that have been or are going through this exact same process.


What’s unique about Middletown compared to other cities is the long term failure to comply with EPA mandates in a timely fashion and misappropriating 3 enterprise funds --- water, sewer, and storm water sewer. It is illegal for these enterprise funds to be used for anything other than their designated purpose. Yet, Council repeats this illegal deed on a regular basis under the guidance of Mr Adkins. The enterprise funds collected on water bills (some since the 1970’s), amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars --- have all disappeared!!!.


The EPA didn’t file the suit until now because we were working together to resolve the situation. Every Ohio city that has already executed their consent decree but hasn’t fully completed their obligations is still likely in violation in some manner with EPA regulations.

The city worked with EPA because the court has finally forced them to comply.


We issued a press release in December to further clarify the actions being taken:

For Immediate Release

Agreement to Clean Water Act Proposed Consent Decree by Middletown, Ohio

Middletown, OH (December 21, 2017) — The City of Middletown, Ohio has agreed to the terms of a proposed consent decree with the United States and the State of Ohio to resolve threatened U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA enforcement claims under the Clean Water Act due primarily to combined sewer overflows (CSO’s). The proposed consent decree includes three major work components: 1.) Implementation of a Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) to reduce CSO’s into the Great Miami River; 2.) Commitment to planned sewer system rehabilitation; and 3.) Commitment to planned waste water treatment plant (WWTP) rehabilitation. All of these components are to be implemented over 25 years (by 2043). The City’s agreement allows the City to avoid protracted, costly and disruptive federal court litigation, the results of which would be uncertain.

The city has already incurred “costly and disruptive federal court litigation” due to non-compliance with EPA mandates over the last 40 plus years. Fines levied for non-compliance over the years are probably unpaid as well.

Again, the EPA is not concerned with feasibility of Adkins’ Long Term Control Plan. The EPA neither condemns nor approves the folly of Adkins’ Long Term Control Plan. The Consent Decree does require the sewer separation, halt of pollution of the water supply and rehab of the entire sewer system. The EPA won’t dictate how to achieve this. But failure is not acceptable.


This mutual agreement allows the City to prioritize critical infrastructure improvements to the sewer system and treatment plant that were already planned while improving water quality in the Great Miami River,” said City Manager Doug Adkins. “These improvements align with the City’s overall revitalization efforts to make Middletown a great place to live, work, and grow, transitioning from our bright past to our brighter future.”

Please note that the initial infrastructure improvements were planned in the 1970’s, and were to be paid for with the addition of a mandated “sewer charge” to the water bills for a period of only 10 years which would collect $74 million to completely pay for the project. But the improvement project was never initiated and the collected, mandated funds were illegally siphoned off, misappropriated and never returned. The funds are gone. Forty years later the original, mandated sewer charge is still on the water bill plus an additional storm water sewer charge which will be increased annually over the next 25 years to satisfy the Consent Decree handed down by the court. What’s to stop city hall and Mr Adkins’ continuing misuse of these funds? It’s a matter of record in Council meetings that Adkins has successfully advocated that Council transfer funds from all 3 enterprise funds --- water, sewer and storm water sewer funds to illegally pay for street repairs.

Proposed Consent Decree Agreement Basics

Long-Term Control Plan

Construction of two large storage tanks and associated pump stations

    Storm Water Redirection Project including new storm sewer and pump station

    Green Infrastructure Project to divert storm water flow tributary to the Combined Sewer System into a regional detention basin

    Estimated Cost $112 million

    First, it is totally impractical to think that a storage tank or two will contain water run off (from the entire surface of Middletown) due to a particularly heavy rain possibly totaling millions of gallons. Where would this pair of (insufficient) colossal tanks and regional detention basin be located? Obviously, this is folly, pie in the sky and more waste of time and money. It isn’t even a good bandaid. Council --- why aren’t you asking to see the design and plans for this before contracting with some shyster who will say he can construct this folly? Are you going to approve one of your famous contracts (similar to contracts with downtown “revitalization investors”) which contains no recourse for failure to complete?


Sewer System Rehabilitation

    Rehabilitation of 40 miles of sewer pipe which is at or near the end of its useful life

    Estimated Cost $74 million.

    WWTP Rehabilitation (Wastewater Treatment Plant)

    Critical rehabilitation and upgrades to major treatment plant components which are necessary for the plant to remain viable over the next 25 years

    Estimated Cost $79 million



In addition, the City has agreed to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to significantly reduce the civil penalty for the alleged violations. The SEP includes capping of sediments in a designated section of the Hydraulic Canal adjacent to the STM (810 First Ave., City contact in 7/15/2009 Mike Robinette) / Wrenn Site. The project allows the City to obtain a “Covenant Not to Sue” from the Ohio EPA for the site under the Voluntary Action Program, which in turn will allow for future redevelopment of the site. The civil penalty has been reduced to $55,000 in consideration of this project.

Adkins refers to The EPA’s civil penalties on Middletown as “alleged violations?!?! What would EPA think of this terminology? The STM/Wrenn Site and the adjacent Hydraulic Canal fines are from years ofallegedviolation. These are not the only continuing violations and unpaid fines listed by the EPA!!!

This project is a “win-win” for the City and Ohio EPA,” said Adkins. “It will create a clean, shovel-ready building site for future development consistent with the Downtown Master Plan.”

The proposed consent decree has now been filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The filling will initiate a 30-day comment period. Should no significant comments be received objecting to the agreement, the US Department of Justice is expected to file a motion asking the court to enter the proposed consent decree as final and effective.

This plan helps to fix a century-old problem. It is a solution that not only solves the EPA combined sewer issue, but also upgrades our sewer plants and associated piping to maintain viability of our water and sewer infrastructure into the future. It also improves quality of the water in the river and addresses an old industrial brownfield site, making it available for redevelopment.

Yes, there are some very old sewer lines in Middletown. The problem which EPA is requiring to be remedied was first addressed in the 1970’s and had to do with separation of the old original storm water and sanitary sewers in downtown Middletown, because of the subsequent discharge into the river, of untreated sewage in violation of the Clean Water Act. The planned solution was EPA approved, and money was collected via sewer charges on water bills but the separation of sewers never happened.

Industrial brownfield sites (Wrenn paper and Aeronca sites for example) that Adkins mentions above were initially separate issues which should have been resolved years ago, and the Federal Superfund money which Middletown obtained for Aeronca’s cleanup was illegally misappropriated (siphoned off) for other city obligations or claimed for the old catchall administrative fee, leaving the cleanup unfinished or short of EPA approval. This is just one reason for some of the fines EPA has levied. Now the cleanup and fines will come out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

Neither Adkins nor Journal News reporter, Richter, has revealed that there is a specific schedule over the next 25 years for replacing sewer lines and updating the entire system. If the deadlines are not met, very heavy fines will be levied. The schedule and possible fines are listed in the 30+ page consent decree.

Mr Adkins didn’t mention in his blog post anything about the increase in our water bills or the fact that the bills will continue to increase 10 to 15 percent every year for years to come (at least 25 years) in order to pay the inflated costs.

None of this is or will be Mr Adkins’ problem since he is nearing the end of his 5 year plan to leave Middletown in ruins and be handsomely paid for it. By the way has anybody, including Council, ever seen a copy of this plan?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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MattR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2018 at 1:19pm
I think the manager is referring to the WCPO post.  He falsely implies that the editor note was a correction when it was nothing of the sort. Spin-spin/win-win and you pay-pay.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2018 at 5:20pm
"Please note that the initial infrastructure improvements were planned in the 1970’s, and were to be paid for with the addition of a mandated “sewer charge” to the water bills for a period of only 10 years which would collect $74 million to completely pay for the project. But the improvement project was never initiated and the collected, mandated funds were illegally siphoned off, misappropriated and never returned. The funds are gone. Forty years later the original, mandated sewer charge is still on the water bill plus an additional storm water sewer charge which will be increased annually over the next 25 years to satisfy the Consent Decree handed down by the court."


If the mandated sewer charge on the water bill was for a specific time of ten years and if there has been no additional time added by the city to extend that time, are we obligated to pay the additional sewer charge on the water bill?

Would it be possible for all water customers to stop paying this additional mandated charge? Like to see their reaction to a mass non-payment from the residents. I'd like to see them try to shut off everyone's water in the city for non-payment of a sewer charge that has long expired. Sounds like a class action lawsuit to me.

....."misappropriating 3 enterprise funds --- water, sewer, and storm water sewer. It is illegal for these enterprise funds to be used for anything other than their designated purpose"

If true, then the city should have been reported for prosecution long ago to the Attorney General or other legal source. Just wondering why this wasn't reported long ago....too late to report it now? Would it matter?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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