Going Green to Manage Our Rain



MSD is going green to help keep rainwater out of the sewer system and reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs). 


Why? Because the major culprit in a CSO is stormwater, not sewage. CSOs occur when too much stormwater fill up sewers beyond what they can hold and they overflow, by design, into a local stream or river.


To date, MSD is capturing more than a billion gallons of stormwater runoff annually across 44 acres of green infrastructure sites and about 35 miles of dedicated storm sewers. These types of projects have helped MSD achieve a nearly 8 billion gallon reduction annually in sewer overflows.



Photo of the stream channel at the Lick Run Greenway in South Fairmount
Stream channel at the Lick Run Greenway in South Fairmount


Photo of bioswale at Rapid Run Park in West Price Hill
Stream channel at the Lick Run Greenway in South Fairmount


Green Solutions

Green solutions help keep rainwater out of combined sewers and also clean the water by filtering it through soil, rocks and plants.

MSD continues to look for ways to use green infrastructure and sewer separation to control sewer overflows.


Below are some examples of completed green solutions:


  • Lick Run Greenway in South Fairmount - The nationally recognized Lick Run Greenway uses green infrastructure, storm sewers, a surface stream, and real-time controls to eliminate about 800 million gallons of CSOs each year into the Mill Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River. 
  • West Fork Project in Northside - Two stormwater detention basins along Kirby Avenue and Martha Street helps reduces CSOs into the West Fork Channel, a tributary of the Mill Creek. MSD also installed a large rain garden along West Fork Road.
  • Kings Run Project in Spring Grove Village - Four stormwater detention basins, storm sewers, and restoration of Kings Run helps reduces CSOs into the Kings Run, a tributary of the Mill Creek.
  • Rain Garden in North Fairmount -  A large rain garden in North Fairmount along Denham Street helps reduce overflows into the Mill Creek.
  • Ault Park Stream Restoration - A large-scale stream restoration of the Valley Trail creek in Ault Park.
  • Green Infrastructure Partnerships - MSD partnered with about 20 local organizations ranging from the Cincinnati Zoo and the Civic Garden Center to Cincinnati State and the Cincinnati Museum Center to design and install smaller-scale stormwater controls.  View MSD's report



Photo of a bioinfiltration basin (large rain garden) along West Fork Road in Northside
Rain garden in Northside along West Fork Road