Cleaner Air Ahead: MSD Project Clear Reaches Milestone for New Biosolids Management Systems

MSD Project Clear (MSDPC) has reached a milestone in developing new biosolids systems at its Bissell Point and Lemay Wastewater Treatment Plants, with construction expected to begin by the end of 2023. The $900 million investment will modernize crucial facilities, replacing century-old technology with more efficient, environmentally friendly processes.

The project upgrades systems used to treat and reduce the volume of biosolids that have been removed during the wastewater treatment process. Although the existing facilities continue to meet or exceed all air quality standards, the new systems will significantly improve air quality, reducing emissions by 70 percent.

“Modern wastewater treatment is essential to human health and the environment, but the processes we use must also protect the quality of our air,” said Brian Hoelscher, Executive Director and CEO for MSDPC. “While our current systems have served the region well for decades, the development of cleaner processes makes replacing them a priority. The new facilities are a leap forward in technology that will improve air quality for generations to come. Modern systems will also reduce ongoing maintenance costs associated with operating outdated facilities.”

Jared Opsal, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE), highlighted the benefits of the project to the region. “These projects are major components of the work MCE and the EPA has done with MSD to significantly improve not only our water quality but also our air quality,” Opsal said. “MSDPC’s commitment to make future improvements to these facilities while at the same time ensuring low-income residents are not significantly impacted are also important for us. We’re excited to see these facilities moving forward and to see even further improvements in the years to come.”

The substantial investment to improve air quality was also noted by St. Louis City NAACP President Adolphus M. Pruitt, II. “Both of these new facilities are in areas with long-standing economic and environmental disparities,” Pruitt said. “The investment of $900 million in these neighborhoods by MSD Project Clear, which has a strong track record of meaningful participation by minority and woman-owned businesses, will be a boost for many of these businesses. Moreover, the community-wide benefits of cleaner air will last for generations.”

Both facilities are expected to be complete by 2029. In addition to their environmental benefits, the facilities will create 200 new jobs during construction, ongoing high-tech job opportunities upon completion, and create other economic gains.

By helping the St. Louis region to continue satisfying the requirements of the Clean Air Act, these new facilities will play a role in the area’s eligibility for federal transportation funding. “Our location at the confluence of the greatest rivers in North America is a clear competitive advantage for the St. Louis metro,” said Jason Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Investing in infrastructure that keeps those waters clean while making our air even cleaner helps St. Louis keep that edge. MSD Project Clear’s investment in leading-edge technology, job creation, and a cleaner environment will boost our economy and quality of life.”