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While the challenges regarding the CSO Program are significant, there are also benefits. With each project comes an opportunity to improve and enhance neighborhoods. Where streets and curbs are removed for construction, new streets, curbs, handicap ramps and driveway approaches will be built. Where trees are removed, new trees or other plants will replace them. Some enhancements, such as public art, decorative seating, rain gardens and other ideas generated by the public could be added, funded by neighborhoods through grants or other funding organizations.
Reducing pollutant discharge to the Missouri River and Papillion Creek and ultimately improving water quality is one of the key goals of the CSO Program.
To characterize the existing water quality in the Missouri River, the City initiated the Missouri River Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQ Program) with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Nebraska Water Science Center in July 2012. This three-year WQ Program is the start of a long-term partnership between the City and the USGS. The overall objective of the WQ Program is to understand the effects of Omaha’s combined sewer system discharges on water quality in the Missouri River. Various water quality parameters will be collected either monthly or continuously during the Program and include:
Select data have been collected monthly at four locations and continuously at three locations since July 2012 and will continue to be collected throughout the WQ Program. Gathered information will be used to support long-term planning for the City’s CSO Program, Stormwater Program, and wastewater treatment plants.
Note close coordination with utilities (MUD, OPPD, Cox, CenturyLink) to minimize disruptions. Coordinating project planning with MUDs Infrastructure Replacement Program for replacement of water and gas lines as part of CSO Projects saves rate payers money by performing all work in the road right-of-way at once.