Consent Decree Amendment

Renewing Our Commitment to Cleaner Waterways

The spark that started MSD Project Clear was the consent decree that went into effect in April 2012 between MSD, the United States EPA, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. This agreement provided a long-term plan to eliminate the hundreds of sewer overflows that can discharge wastewater into our local waterways during heavy rainstorms.

In 2016, new regulations issued by the EPA required MSD to accelerate efforts on certain non-consent decree projects, such as replacing sewage sludge incineration units at the Bissell Point and Lemay wastewater treatment plants. To deliver on this accelerated schedule without placing additional financial burdens on our customers, MSD secured an amendment to the existing consent decree extending the deadline by five years.

On June 22, 2018, the amendment took effect, extending the consent decree from a 23-year program to 28 years with an estimated $6 billion budget. The start of construction on the Upper River des Peres Storage Tunnel, the River des Pere Tributaries Storage Tunnel, and the Lower and Middle River des Peres Storage Tunnel has been delayed from 2021 to 2026. These tunnels are part of MSD’s Long-Term Control Plan to reduce overflows in the River des Peres watershed.

To further reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality, MSD has budgeted at least $20 million in green infrastructure (or rainscaping) improvements in the Lemay Service Area and River des Pere Watershed. Using native plants and innovative landscape design, rainscaping helps to capture rain where it falls, keeping it out of the combined sewer system.