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Omaha Won’t Fight Feds in Court Over Sewers

By   /   July 24, 2012  /   6 Comments

OMAHA—Are several major Omaha companies bluffing when they threaten to leave town over the multi-billion dollar sewer fight?

Mayor Jim Suttle won’t say yes but, in an exclusive on camera interview (see video below) with Nebraska Watchdog, he did not say no.

The mayor’s comments come as the city is set to announce on Wednesday a pilot program aimed at reducing storm water runoff using plants and different soils.

According to the city the program is a joint effort between the city and the EPA, with funding provided by the federal government.

The EPA has mandated the city to stop raw sewage from flowing into the Missouri River, a mandate that comes with an estimated $2 billion price-tag on Omaha consumers and threats of huge fines if the city does not comply.

This month the Alliance for the Private Sector, a constant thorn in Suttle’s side, said the city should not “pay the fines. Make them sue the city and then fight it in court.”

Suttle tells Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan that’s not going to happen.

Reported by Joe Jordan, [email protected]

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here



Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Ikon

    Believe it or not, that great Socialist President, Richard Nixon started the EPA!! He also wanted to do Obamacare back in the 70’s & had a much more comprehensive program, ie SOCIALIST to all you GOPERS, than anything Obama has done! Ted Kennedy, believe it or not, Blocked it!!

    Anyway I grew up in Cleveland & I remember doing construction work as a kid on the sewer separation problem in the early 60’s when some Smart Ohio Pols realized the problem & corrected it for a few paltry million $$$$.

    Now the way I see this problem being solved for a lot less than projected is, for the city to hire a superb Civil Engineer & Project Manager & create the EPA Sewer Compliance Works Dept. & do the job itself. To my way of thinking it would benefit the people of Omaha by using local labor, buying the equipment & cutting OUT the 50% profit some Fat Cat contractor will skim off the top!! New contracts would have to be written with the greedy local unions of course because they have become a big part of the cost problem in todays world.

    This is not as big a deal as you people think it may be & had the city Started doing the work when it was mandated, it would most likely be well near finished by now. On another note, the longer one sits on one arse & does nothing, the meter just keeps running & the price just keep going up.

    BTW; Suttle is supposed to be an Engineer, so if he can keep the corruption, kickbacks & greed to a minimum & have some faith in the people, you never know, a MILAGRO just might happen.

    On another note, let the people from the Alliance for the Private Sector drink some feces laden water every day for a month or so & see if they don’t see the LIGHT!!

  • Joey Jo Jo

    Why are there so many issues with sewage. If the YRs would get out of the way of progress maybe we could flush them.

  • Biff

    Go ahead, Omaha, keeping pouring your ‘stuff’ into the Missouri. But don’t complain when Sioux City and other upstream neighbors do the same.

  • TexasAnnie

    My family was brought to Omaha to pay taxes in 1989 under guise of “economic development” whereby the employer agreed “not to leave town” in exchange for lower taxes and “new job creation.” Upon my arrival and over the next sixteen years, Omaha did not separate the sewers even though Hal Daub and his successors knew of the need to do so. At one point, even the Unicameral passed legislation intended to facilitate the city’s effort, but the sewers are still not separated. Yet so many other public works in that city have been discussed, planned, undertaken, completed and bragged about since that time. Sewer separation must not really be that important, at least not to those living west of 72nd St., where most of the “movers and shakers” live!

    And now that I’m back here in Texas where I belong, my taxes are no longer forfeited on some idle dream about Omaha’s “growth & development,” nor worry about a “brain drain” after incurring the high public cost of educating Nebraska’s youth at the University system.

    Maybe y’all should have bought a sewer system rather than that riverfront development back when…

  • SoWhat???

    TexasAnnie, we’re so glad you are back in Texas where you belong and we hope you’ll focus your energy on Texas issues since you have nothing of substance to offer on Omaha/Nebraska issues. BTW, no one except your own family’s financial mismanagement “forced you to move to Omaha” so quit complaining about your own stupidity.
    As for the what will happen with the sewer project funding, the residential customers will bear the brunt of the burden. Costs will be shifted from industrial and commercial customers to residential since that is the “group” with the least organized political clout. The best and most obvious course of action for current residential customers is to abandon the city’s sewer service territory for areas outside Omaha’s reach. For the suckers who stay…the poor and the “wine & cheese” crowd…they can pay the $100-$150/month sewer use fee that will be levied. Good luck to them…I’m outta here!!!

  • Of course “Diamond Jim” won’t fight this in court. He would be going against his party and the annointed leader. The people come last when it comes to an unconstitutional, unfunded mandate, but Diamond Jim won’t muddy the political waters.