Water Quality

Understanding and Improving Water Quality

Water quality is at the heart of what MSD does every day. MSD's mission is to protect public health and the environment through wastewater reclamation and watershed management. We operate our facilities and implement projects to fulfill our obligations under the federal Clean Water Act.

Water quality is also an essential element of Project Groundwork, MSD's multi-year and multi-billion-dollar initiative to reduce sewer overflows into rivers and streams.

Toward the goal of understanding and improving water quality, we have undertaken a number of initiatives:

  • Water quality monitoring (for chemical data) since 1998 in the Mill Creek, Little Miami River, Great Miami River and Ohio River. In addition, the Ohio EPA has conducted biological assessments of the Mill Creek in 1992 and the Little Miami River in 1983, 1993, 1998 and 2007, and the Great Miami River in 1980,1989, 1995, 2007 and 2010.
  • Development of Recr8OhioRiver, a website and wireless device app that predicts E. coli counts in the Ohio River.

MSD Embarks on Major Water Quality and Biological Study of Local Waterways

Building upon this work, we conducted a major multi-year study (2011-2014) to benchmark and monitor water quality and aquatic habitat in these rivers and their tributaries through comprehensive biological, chemical, and physical sampling and analysis.

The goal of this study was to:

  • Establish a baseline for water quality and aquatic habitat (e.g., fish and macroinvertebrates) in an effort to gauge improvements over time.
  • Identify stressors (e.g., pollutants) to water quality and aquatic habitat
  • Identify the overall health of each aquatic system, as indicated by attainment of Ohio EPA water quality standards
  • Use the data - via MSD's Intergrated Prioritization System (IPS) - to help prioritize Capital Improvements Projects to improve water quality and aquatic habitat in each of these waterways.

MSD follwed a four-year monitoring schedule that focused on the following watersheds:

Please visit the links in the right margin to learn more about Ohio Water Quality Standards, the four studies and access the water quality webmap for all sampling locations.

Please visit the downloads in the right margin to view MSD's watershed monitoring and bioassessment plan for the four-year study, read the study reports and learn about MSD's Integrated Prioritization System (IPS).