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County Adopts Zero Tolerance Policy On MSD Smells

Sarah Ramsey

Hamilton County Commissioners have approved a measure that would set a zero tolerance policy on odors for the Metropolitan Sewer District.

The measure directs MSD to respond to every complaint about smells coming from or reported near one of its facilities.

"I do think it's very, very important as a matter of policy that we articulate to the general public that odor issues are not something that we expect people to live with," board President Todd Portune said.

"Anything other than a zero tolerance policy would suggest to people who live… around MSD operations that we're saying basically 'well, you live there, you live next to it, you're going to have to suffer a little bit.' That's not the appropriate position that we should take."

The resolution does not guarantee there will be no noxious smells around MSD plants. It does state that Hamilton County's intent is to "respond to odor issues and odor complaints as expeditiously as possible, and to take steps as are reasonable, possible and prudent in order to reduce, including to work toward the full and complete elimination of as much as possible of the source and cause of such odor issues."

Commissioners also approved restarting weekly talks with the City of Cincinnati over ending an MSD operating agreement. The deal that bound the two entities together expires in 2018.

The board also directed Administrator Jeff Aluotto to review and report on a set of recommendations from a government reform task force. That study was returned in 2009.

Commissioner Chris Monzel said he supported the review of the report, but could not promise he would support the recommendations. Portune pointed out the board did not adopt all of the suggestions, but they were worth revisiting.

Three other items, developing a General Fund Quarterly Pending Plan, creating a committee on shared services, and starting discussions with surrounding counties on a regional transportation committee, were held over for possible action at a future meeting.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.