Consent Decree Information

Water Through Trees

The remediation of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), and a comprehensive Water-In-Basement (WIB) response program are key components of the Global Consent Decree that the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) has presented to the Board of County Commissioners and the Cincinnati City Council. The Consent Decree was unanimously approved by both Cincinnati City Council and the Board of County Commissioners. On December 4, 2003, the Consent Decree was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, for review and approval.

There are two consent decrees. Both are available from links at the right side of this page:

  1. Interim Partial Consent Decree on SSOs (see 'Related Links' at right)
  2. Global Consent Decree (see listings under 'Downloads' at right)

Project Groundwork

Project Groundwork (click for Project Groundwork website)The plan developed in 2006 to address the Global Decree’s requirements and to implement capacity-based sanitary sewer and CSO issues of the Interim and Global decrees was known as MSD’s Wet Weather Improvement Plan. In 2008, MSD branded this improvement effort as “Project Groundwork.” The Final Wet Weather Improvement Program (WWIP), which incorporated remaining work under both Consent Decrees into a final schedule and cash flow, was approved by the Federal Court in August 2010. Phase I of the final WWIP is underway.


In the late 1980s and 1990s, the federal government, through the Clean Water Act, called for the elimination of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and a reduction of discharges from combined sewer overflows (CSOs). This action affected every wastewater system in the country, including the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD). Increased scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brought the issue to the forefront in the late 1990s as these government bodies began enforcing the ruling in large cities and leveling heavy civil penalties on those out of compliance.

In 1999, MSD, which had already begun addressing the elimination of its SSOs and reducing CSOs, entered into negotiations with the EPA, DOJ, and the State of Ohio to establish a formal remediation program that would be recognized and supported by the government, but also was affordable for local ratepayers. The resulting agreement is called the Consent Decree.

Community Meetings

As part of the public review process for the Global Consent Decree, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) hosted several community meetings. At these meetings, MSD provided an overview of the Global Consent Decree and how it will affect MSD customers and our community's environmental health. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and offer their comments.

Links to Consent Decree documents are available from the 'Related Links' and 'Downloads' menus at the right side of this page. If you are experiencing water in your basement or other emergency sewer problems, please call our 24 hour Customer Service Office at (513) 352-4900.