• Local Sewer Assessments

    5 Step Process


    Step 1: Request for Assessment Sewer Citizen Petition

    Public sewers that serve a neighborhood or a few streets are called “local sewers” If a local sewer does not exist property owners may request construction of a local sewer by a petition process. A petitioner will request a citizen petition. MSDGC will prepare a preliminary alternatives analysis to determine the benefited area that would be served by a local sewer extension. MSDGC will provide the petitioner a petition that the petitioner will circulate around the benefited area. To be considered a valid petition, the petition must show affirmative support of property owners who represent a majority of the properties to be served, or “benefited” by the sewer. A petition with less than absolute majority support will not be acted upon. Once a petition is submitted, MSD will confirm the petition’s validity by polling all benefited property owners via US Mail. All petition results will be presented to the Board. Returned petitions that do not have a majority of support are not valid under the Board policy.

    The County Commissioners ultimately determine if an assessment sewer should be built. While the petition processes illustrate the level of support from benefited properties, these processes do not obligate the Commissioners to build a public sewer.

    This process from request to final polling may take 6-12 months to complete.

    For additional information about the petition process see this Flyer.

    Request for a Sewer Assessment Citizen Petition

    Step 2: Design & Easement Acquisition

    If a petition process receives majority support, MSDGC will request design legislation funding from the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. The Board will decide whether to extend sewer service based on several factors, including the location of the nearest accessible public sewer outfall, the level of interest from the property owners who would benefit from the sewer extension, and the cost of the sewer extension.

    If design is approved, the design and easement acquisition process can take 2-3 years to complete based on the size, level of impact, and complexity of the project. Easement acquisition, if needed, can take 1-2+ years to complete based on the number of properties impacted, the extent of the impact.

    Step 3: Tentative Assessment & the Public Hearing

    Design and easement acquisition, if needed, are completed. The upcoming phase of the project includes a notice of tentative assessment, a public hearing, and final legislation.

    Ohio law provides that assessment sewers are to be financed entirely, or in part, by the owners of properties that are benefited by the assessment sewer. In Hamilton County, the Board of County Commissioners has established a policy that says benefited property owners will pay no more than $12,000 per benefited parcel towards the cost of the public-side of the assessment sewer. MSD will provide a credit to each property that accounts for the remainder of the project cost. The property owners’ share of the project costs are known as “assessments”. Assessments do not include the tap-in fee or the cost to connect your building to the public sewer. Tentative assessments are the basis for the County Commissioners’ discussion with property owners about the local sewer project’s total cost.

    Ohio law requires the County Commissioners to hold a public hearing for any sewer project that is to be funded in whole or in part by the benefited property owners through assessments. The public hearing is the opportunity for all benefited property owners to express their opinion on the local sewer project directly to the County Commissioners.

    After the tentative assessment and the public hearing, MSDGC will go the County Commissioner for adoption of three final pieces of legislation.

    The tentative assessment, public hearing, and additional legislation can take 6-9 months to complete.

    For additional information about the tentative assessment, public hearing, and legislative process see this Flyer.

    Step 4: Public Sewer Construction

    The public sewer improvement typically includes sewer pipe, manholes, and a service lateral for each benefited property. The public sewer is located underground and is usually 8-inch in diameter. The service lateral extends from the mainline sewer to the limit of the public right-of-way or the limit of the permanent sewer easement.

    We understand that sewer construction often results in a temporary inconvenience to nearby residents. MSD and our contractor will do what we can to minimize any disruption to your normal routine.

    After the sewer is installed, each benefited property owner will receive a notice from MSDGC that the sewer is available for connection. The local health district will indicate when your home must be connected to the sewer once construction is complete.

    Each property owner must solicit bids and hire and plumber to connect the building drain to the sewer lateral.

    For additional information about construction of a public sewer see this Flyer.

    Website links for Hamilton County Public Health and Cincinnati Health Dept. Website link for estimating your sewer bill.

    Step 5: Paying Your Sewer Assessment

    The owner of each property that is benefited by an assessment sewer is required to pay their fair share of the cost of the sewer. Current MSD policy provides that each benefited parcel, regardless of size or current use, receive a credits such that the net final assessment for the public-side improvement is not greater than $12,000 per benefited parcel. MSD pays for all project costs in excess of the net final assessments (above the $12,000 per benefited parcel).

    After the final project cost is known, MSD will request the Board of County Commissioners to adopt legislation to allow MSD to charge your property for its share of the cost of the sewer. The County Commissioners must confirm final assessments and provide for two things: (1) that the property owner may pay, in full or part, their share of the sewer’s cost as determined by MSD within 30 days of notice, and 92) that any unpaid balance plus finance charges and interest will be placed on property tax duplicates for the property owners that have not paid, either in full or part. This final assessment typically happens during the month of May the year follow substantial completion of construction of the local assessment sewer project.

    MSD will notify you when the Board of County Commissioners have adopted and certified final assessments. This notice will be sent to you via certified mail and is your official notice.

    Sewer assessments can be paid in three ways:

    1. Full payment within 30 days of notice
    2. Partial payment within 30 days of notice and remainder financed over a 20-year term with interest and fees
    3. Finance entire amount over a 20-year term, with interest and fees

    MSD provides financial assistance in the form of Assessment Credits. MSD Assessment Credits lower your overall assessment cost to no more than $12,000 per benefited parcel for the public side improvement.

    For additional information about the final assessment and potential financial assistance, please see this Flyer.


    For More Information

    For more information, please contact the MSD's Engineering Customer Service at (513) 557-3594 or MSDCommunications@cincinnati-oh.gov. Additional information is also available in the Downloads box to the right.

    Contact Us

    Report a Sewer Backup:
    (513) 352-4900 24/7 or online

    Customer Call Center:
    (513) 352-4900 24/7

    Project Customer Service:
    (513) 557-3594

    Development Services:
    (513) 244-1330

    Media Inquiries:
    (513) 557-7095


    MSD Mailing Address:
    1600 Gest St.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45204

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