MSD Civil Service Commissioner Opening

June 23, 2014

The Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is currently accepting resumes and cover letters from individuals interested in being considered for appointment to the District’s Civil Service Commission. Candidates must be a resident and registered voter in St. Louis City or County for at least three years. Civil Service Commissioners only convene several times a year for hearings regarding personnel administration, disciplinary actions and administrative actions in accordance with MSD’s Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Each meeting is compensated $20 with a maximum annual sum of $500.

Please submit resume with cover letter before July 11, 2014 to:

Vicki T. Edwards, Commission Secretary
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
2350 Market Street
St. Louis, MO. 63103

Information may also be emailed to: vltayl@stlmsd.com

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Wins Multiple Awards

June 13, 2014

MSD’s Accounting Division has once again received the annual Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This is the 26th consecutive year the District has received this prestigious award. Less than 8% of the government entities considered for this award have achieved this milestone. The GFOA is a nonprofit association of 18,000 government financial professionals across the United States. In order to receive the award, a government entity must satisfy stringent nationally recognized reporting guidelines and an impartial review by a panel of certified public accountants selected by GFOA. The award represents the highest available form of recognition for governmental financial reporting.

The Engineering Department received two additional awards this year for the Coldwater Wet Weather Storage Facility Tank A, totaling three awards received for the tank. MSD was awarded the National Recognition Award, as well as the Engineering Excellence Award, from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Missouri. The Council also bestowed both the National Recognition Award, and the Engineering Excellence Award on the Wenneker Treebrook Storm Channel Improvements.

In addition, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri awarded MSD the Outstanding Mechanical Installation for Process Piping for the Caulks Creek “A” Phase 5 Project.

MSD Offers Tips to Protect Homes and Property During Storms

June 9, 2014

Rain events can occur any time of year. Since heavy storms and rain events can occur throughout the year, MSD Project Clear is encouraging homeowners to play a part in reducing problems in their own homes and neighborhoods due to rain events. By following a few proactive steps, homeowners will help allow the area’s stormwater sewers and drainage systems to operate at the highest possibly efficiency.

Tips for Homeowners:

gutters

Be sure gutters are free of leaves, branches, and other blockages. Blocked gutters can cause water to cascade down the side of a structure or pond on a roof, both of which can cause rainwater to enter a home.

inlets

Clear streets and inlets of debris. Leaves, plastic bottles, branches, and other debris can easily block inlets. When high intensity rainstorms hit, these items are washed into the inlets. Items that make it into the sewer decrease the amount of water that can be handled. Items that don’t go into the sewer block inlets, which in-turn causes street and other localized flooding.

downspouts

Clear downspouts and make sure they are directed away from your house. Misdirected downspouts can focus water toward a home, causing flooding within the structure or foundation damage.

window wells

Clean Window Wells. Many homes have window wells outside their basement windows. Be sure these areas are free of leaves and other debris so they can drain properly and as quickly as possible. If water accumulates, it presses up against the basement window, which in turn can seep into or even flood your basement.

drains

Clean Stairwell Drains. Homes that can be entered through a basement door will have a drain at the bottom of the stairwell. Make sure this drain is not blocked and is clear of leaves and other debris. Accumulating water in the stairwell can also seep in and flood your basement.

sump pump

Check sump pumps. Water from a sump pump should drain away from the house so that it does not flow back into the basement. Many sump pumps incorrectly lead to the basement drain – the pump’s drain should lead outside. It’s a good idea to have a backup pump in case the primary pump fails.

limit water

Limit indoor water use. By limiting the use of dishwashers, washing machines, bathtubs, and the like during intense rainfalls, less demand will be put on the sewer system. In those parts of our area with sewers handling both wastewater and stormwater, the ability to handle stormwater will be increased.

drainage

Clear drainage paths on your property. In many parts of our community, small creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage. Ensure that the path rainwater travels from your property to drain into these waterways is clear of possible blockages. Portable pools, loose recreational equipment, piles of yard debris (grass clippings, branches, etc.), and the like can block these drainage ways and stop water from draining as quickly as possible from your property. Remove these possible blockages and ensure that rainwater has an unimpeded flow to the waterway.

creeks and streams

Keep local creeks & streams clear. Local creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage for many parts of our community. The vast majority of these waterways are private property. Thus, responsibility to keep these waterways maintained and clear falls on adjacent property owners or the subdivision as a whole. Ensuring that these waterways are clear of grass clippings, branches, fallen trees, and other debris will allow rainwater to be carried away as quickly as possible.

To view/print the full set of tips, click here:
Homeowner Tips_final

MSD Rate Commission Openings

May 19, 2014

The District’s Board of Trustees is looking for organizations or agencies interested in filling five positions on MSD’s Rate Commission. The 15 member Commission represents a cross-section of the St. Louis Community. It is the Commission’s responsibility to review any proposed adjustments to the rates, fees, or taxes charged or levied by MSD.

If your organization/agency would like to serve on the Rate Commission, please send a letter on your stationery summarizing your interest to:

MSD Rate Commission
c/o Pam Bell
2350 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63103

Contact Pam Bell (314) 768-6224 for more information.
To be considered, you letter must be received by June 30, 2014.

New Trustee Appointed To MSD Board

May 8, 2014

Ruby Bonner has been appointed to MSD’s Board of Trustees. Ms. Bonner replaces Jim Buford, whose second term expired this past March. MSD’s Charter does not allow trustees to serve more than two terms.

Ms. Bonner is a retired City of St. Louis administrator, having served most recently as Executive Director for the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency. In addition to a private law practice and service as a municipal court judge for the City of St. Louis, she has also served as a Division Director with the State of Missouri Department of Public Safety and General Counsel for the St. Louis Public Schools Board of Education. Ms. Bonner currently works part-time as an educational consultant and as an independent contract Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator for the federal government.

In addition to her private practice and government service, Ms. Bonner has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and commissions, including the Missouri’s Public Defender Commission, the YWCA, the Annie Malone Children’s Home, the Mercy Seat Elderly Apartments, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Forest Park Forever Women’s Luncheon Committee.

Ms. Bonner earned a Bachelor of Science Degree, magna cum laude, from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and Juris Doctor Degree from St. Louis University School of Law.

Ms. Bonner’s term expires in March 2018.

New Secretary-Treasurer Named

May 8, 2014

Tim Snoke has been named to the Secretary-Treasurer position by MSD’s Board of Trustees after a nationwide search. Mr. Snoke replaces Brenda Schaefer, who left the position in February 2014.

Mr. Snoke brings over 20-years of treasury and financial management experience to the position, having most recently served as Assistant Treasurer with Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. Significant accomplishments during his time with Ralcorp Holdings include:

  • Negotiated more than 35 financing and refinancing deals totaling more than $5 billion;
  • Integrated cash management and financing function of more than 25 acquisitions;
  • Implemented changes to a retirement program that helped maintain a pension funding ratio of approximately 90%, despite lower returns on assets due to market conditions;
  • Saved an estimated $3 million in annual interest expense by leading a challenge to a ratings evaluation and securing a decision reversal to retain investment grade ratings;
  • Improved working capital by over $40 million through an incentive based performance plan.

In addition to his professional experience, Mr. Snoke is involved in the St. Louis community through his active participation with the Wells Fargo Treasury Management Advisory Council, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri, St. John’s Lutheran School, and St. Lucas Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Mr. Snoke earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Valparaiso University and Master of Business Administration Degree from Saint Louis University. He is also a Certified Financial Manager.

Mr. Snoke will begin his duties on May 19, 2014.

MSD to Host Public Hearing on Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

May 8, 2014

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) will host a public hearing tonight at 6:00 pm to formally present its fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget to the public. The hearing will take place at MSD’s administrative offices located at 2350 Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63103 (corner of Market Street and Jefferson Avenue). During the hearing, MSD officials will review details of the budget and take questions from the public on the proposed expenditures.

MSD’s FY 2015 budget totals $555.0 million and covers the operating, capital, and debt service needs from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015. Highlights include:

  • Plans for 167 new or continuing wastewater projects, totaling $276.9 million.
  • Plans for 26 stormwater projects, including a continuing project from FY2014, totaling $6.7 million.
  • Total Capital Improvement and Replacement Program (CIRP) budget of $284.2 million.

In addition, the FY 2013-2016 capital program was able to save money thanks to consolidating sewer rehabilitation projects, efficient planning when designing sewer projects, and lower bids than anticipated on sewer projects.

For the current FY 2013-2016 capital program, MSD is projected to be $17.5 million or 1.8% under budget versus costs presented to and approved by the Rate Commission. MSD anticipates meeting all consent decree and expected regulatory requirements through 2016.

A Tale of Two Storms

May 7, 2014

During heavy storms, like the those commonly experienced in the St. Louis area during throughout Spring, too much water entering our wastewater system can “overcharge” the sewer mains, meaning that untreated wastewater can sometimes back up into residential or commercial basements. In April 2013 and again in April 2014, rainstorms blew through the St. Louis area, but the storms had very different impacts on our community. After the 2014 events, basement backups from overcharged mains reduced by 64%, saving $250,000 in basement backup claims, all thanks to repair, maintenance, and system improvement efforts that are part of MSD Project Clear.

Using a three-pronged approach, MSD Project Clear’s goals are to improve water quality and to alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region. Along with getting excess rain out of our system and building system improvements, MSD Project Clear’s program focuses on repair and maintenance of our current system. Sewer rehabilitation and lining, as well as continued cleaning enabled the significant reduction in basement backups and the cost savings.

Since the launch of the program, MSD Project Clear has continued an extensive program of sewer rehabilitation and maintenance throughout the District. In addition, Project Clear installed the first storage tank of the program in the Coldwater Creek watershed (pictured below).

Coldwater Creek Tank

This tank, and other future scheduled improvements, negates the need to build an additional 5 miles of wastewater sewers – a cost savings of nearly $70 million. The tank does this by storing additional wastewater at peak flow times. Projects like this storage tank have resulted in significant reductions in system overcharges throughout the District. The tale of two April storms showcases this impact:

Storm Comparison:

April 2013 (18th and 19th) April 2014 (2nd and 3rd)
Total rainfall across St. Louis: 2 to 5 inches Total rainfall across St. Louis: 2 to 6 inches
1st day total of 2.5 inches 1st day total of 2.5 inches
Moderate rainfall in morning and evening Moderate rainfall in morning and evening
Heavier rainfall in the afternoon Heavier rainfall in the afternoon
Heavier rainfall in North County Heavier rainfall in North County
Overcharged mains: 150 Overcharged mains: 53 (a 64% decrease)

During the April 2014 storm, the installation of the Coldwater Creek Storage Tank stored between 8 and 10 million gallons of untreated wastewater. Positive results from these two comparable storms, one year apart, show that MSD Project Clear, while still at the very beginning of its generation-long effort, is showing promising results.

About MSD Project Clear

MSD Project Clear is the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s initiative to improve water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region. MSD Project Clear will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designing, and building community rainscaping and system improvements, along with an ambitious program of maintenance and repair and the disconnection of some residential downspouts in parts of St. Louis County’s separate sewer area from the wastewater sewer line. This work is part of an agreement between MSD and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The St. Louis region’s success with MSD Project Clear will only be possible through strong partnerships and clear communications with the public.

 

 

MSD May Close Lanes on Dorsett Road for Emergency Repairs

May 6, 2014

MSD is doing emergency repairs on the northside of the westbound lanes of Dorsett Road, west of McKelvey Road in Maryland Heights. Currently, the roadway is open and steel plates are in place. After rush hour on Wednesday morning, it will be necessary to remove the plates to make a further assessment and complete repairs. Lane closures may intermittently affect traffic on Dorset Road.

On Wednesday morning after assessment, repair crews will estimate the time to complete the work. Drivers are asked to allow extra travel time until the work is completed.

This work is necessary in order to make emergency repairs on a section of 15-inch corrugated metal stormwater sewer that collapsed today.

Repairs Complete At Force Main Sewer Break In Chesterfield

April 22, 2014

Crews and contractors with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) have finished repairs to the underground force main sewer break in Chesterfield, Missouri.  Pump stations along the force main will ramp up to full operations over the course of the next several hours, returning the system to normal operations.

To effect repairs, the force main sewer had to be temporarily shut down while workers replaced the damaged pipe.  This shutdown caused several overflows of sewage from manholes along the force main.  Affected areas include:

  • The intersection of Crystal Spring Drive and Brighthurst Drive in Chesterfield.
  • Portions of the walk/bike trail that runs along the Monarch Chesterfield levee south of Chesterfield Commons.
  • Portions of Caulks Creek.
  • Portions of Bonhomme Creek.

MSD has placed warning signs in these areas, advising the public of the overflows.  While there is no immediate threat to public health or safety, the public is asked to heed the signs and avoid contact with the affected areas.  If a member of the public should come in contact with these areas, they should immediately and thoroughly wash with soap and water.

MSD will continue to monitor manholes in the area.  If a member of the public should come across what they suspect to be an overflowing manhole, they should contact MSD’s 24-hour Customer Service Center at (314) 768-6260.

Once full operations of the force main sewer resume, cleanup at the break and associated locations will commence.  While an exact timeframe is not yet available, cleanup will take at least several days.

The break in the force main sewer is just west of the intersection of West Drive and North Drive in Chesterfield.  Sewage from the damaged force main sewer has been contained on the property at the site of the break.  The break was reported to MSD by the property owner at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, April 21, 2014.

A force main sewer is a sewer line through which wastewater is propelled by the force of pump stations located along the path of the sewer.  Pump stations are sometimes necessary to overcome gravity and allow for the transport of wastewater to area treatment plants.  Force mains are made of cast iron and can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years, depending upon the amount of flow the line handles and the corrosive properties of the wastewater. 

The force main sewer in question was built in 1983 and a replacement is currently under design.  Construction of the replacement force main is expected to start within the next 18 months at an estimated cost of $5 million.

The force main sewer break and associated manhole overflows have been reported to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, as required by law.


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