JUNE 3, 2012

Held up by MSD

There were considerable omissions in “$945 million sewer vote” (May 31), a story about Proposition Y, the Metropolitan Sewer District’s $945 million bond issue that will be on the June 5 ballot in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The relevant standards for the Clean Water Act were established in 1972. MSD has had 40 years to meet the standards but has continually failed to do so. It also failed to keep agreements to make meaningful progress toward meeting the standards, which caused the government to file a lawsuit against MSD in 2007. The settlement of that suit has resulted in projects being mandated that will cause big jumps in sewer bills.

Years ago, the federal government covered almost all the cost of many clean water projects. Now it provides no such funding. The long delay and negligence by MSD will cost ratepayers dearly.

Given MSD’s track record, it can also be expected that a lot of the additional funding will be wasted by the notoriously inept sewer district. For example, the cost of the sewer district’s newest treatment plan in south county was estimated at $46 million and ended up costing $230 million.

The $945 million bond issue will cost nearly double that amount when interest charges are added. When all the other costs are figured in for consulting contracts and other extravagant spending, only about 30 cents on the dollar might go for construction. If the people of this area feel they are being held up by MSD, it’s because they are.

Tom Sullivan ▪  University City