The Metropolitan Sewer District is asking for an extension to meet new federal standards on a human waste incinerator.
MSD leaders and Cincinnati's Mayor traveled to Washington D.C. this week to discuss the issue with the U.S. EPA and members of Ohio's legislative delegation.
Utility Oversight Director Dave Meyer explained what will happen if the extension isn't granted.
"If the incinerator is shut down there will be additional truck traffic that will be hauling wastewater sludge through the City of Cincinnati, either through the city itself or on I-275," Meyer says. "So that would be additional truck traffic and would have the potential, obviously, for any accident to spill that sludge on the highways."
MSD had planned to shut down the incinerator. However, that plan was scrapped earlier this year. There's now a $21 million proposal to bring it up to code instead. Meyer says that could take one-and-a-half to two years to complete.
Some human waste hauling already exists. MSD operates three human waste incinerators.
New federal rules go into effect March 21, 2016.