MSD can't afford to fix broken pipes

HAZELWOOD, Mo. (KSDK) – Every time it rains, more and more of Cheryl Burton's backyard washes away.

The Metropolitan Sewer District says it's their pipe and their responsibility to fix it, but they don't have the money.

"They're telling us to go ahead and fix it, and one day they'll reimburse us if they get the money," Burton said. "Is that acceptable to you? Absolutely not."

MSD Spokesman Lance LeCombe says there may be hundreds of homeowners like Cheryl Burton, who are dealing with water runoff damage the sewer district didn't pay to repair.

"If I were in her shoes, I would be upset. I'd be angry," LeCombe said. "It comes down to lack of funding. We can't take waste water dollars to pay for storm water issues."

LeCombe says there's a $60 million budget shortfall to fix sewer damage problems like this one. MSD's solution to raise money was ruled illegal by the State Supreme Court last year, because it didn't seek voter approval for the new storm water charge.

"So now, we have to go back to square one in terms of developing a new rate for storm water, taking it to our rate commission and hope to have a vote in two to three years," he said.

Two to three years is not what Cheryl Burton wants to hear.

"It's not our problem, so I don't see why we should be the ones who provide the solution," she said.

She says a contractor told her it would cost $6,000 to $8,000just to bring in dirt and rocks to build up her yard again.

But that doesn't solve the problem of the damaged pipe.

Beginning Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Brentwood Recreation Center, MSD will begin a series of eight public meetings to figure out a new way to raise money and convince voters to say yes.


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