Water Quality

Understanding and Improving Water Quality

It's all about clean water!

Water quality is at the heart of what MSD does every day, as our mission is to protect public health and the environment through wastewater reclamation and watershed management. We operate our wastewater treatment plants 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 evaluating and improving water quality, we have conducted water quality monitoring (for chemical data) since 1998 in the Mill Creek, Little Miami, Great Miami and Ohio rivers. And in 2011, we began monitoring for comprehensive water quality and aquatic habitat.

MSD Water Quality Studies

MSD is currently partnering with the Midwest Biodiversity Institute to monitor water quality and aquatic habitat in the Mill Creek, Little Miami, Great Miami and Ohio rivers and their tributaries through comprehensive biological, chemical, and physical sampling and analysis.

The work began in 2011-2014 with a benchmarking study in each river and is continuing in 2016-2019 with follow-up studies.

The focus of the studies are:

  • Compare water quality and aquatic habitat (e.g., fish and macroinvertebrates) in each river to the baseline data to gauge improvement.
  • Mill Creek sampling
  • 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.

To view the water quality reports, please visit the links under Downloads in the right margin.

2018 Water Quality Forum

MSD hosted a public Water Quality Forum on December 12, 2018 to provide an update on our efforts to track and assess local water quality. The forum focused on:

  • Water quality modeling
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Water quality data
The good news is that water quality in our local streams, including the Mill Creek, is steadily improving!

Here's a summary of recent water quality findings:

  • Mill Creek - lower portion (modified warmwater habitat): Full attainment, continues to improve
  • Mill Creek - upper portion (warmwater habitat): Partial attainment, continues to improve
  • Little Miami (exceptional warmwater habitat) - Full attainment, but inconsistent improvement trends
  • Duck Creek (limited resource, modified warmwater habitat and warmwater habitat) - Partial attainment, improving
Muddy Creek

To view the presentation from the Water Quality Forum, please click on the link below.

Water Quality Forum presentation - December 12, 2018