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George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin

In the world of civil engineering, stormwater management is a crucial component of urban infrastructure. With increasing urbanization and climate change leading to more frequent and intense rainfall events, municipalities are under pressure to find effective solutions to mitigate flooding and protect water quality. One such solution is the George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin, a state-of-the-art stormwater management facility located in Hamilton County, Ohio.

The George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin, often referred to simply as the Kuhn Basin, is a large-scale stormwater management facility that serves as a key part of the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) efforts to reduce pollution and mitigate flooding in the region. The basin, which covers an area of approximately 150 acres, is designed to capture and store stormwater runoff during periods of heavy rainfall, allowing for the gradual release of water into the nearby Mill Creek. In addition to providing flood protection, the basin also functions as a treatment facility, removing pollutants and sediment from the stormwater before it is discharged into the creek.

The Kuhn Basin is named after George W. Kuhn, a former Hamilton County Commissioner and long-time advocate for environmental conservation and sustainable development in the region. Kuhn played a key role in the development and construction of the basin, which was completed in 2002 at a cost of approximately $180 million. The basin has since become a model for sustainable stormwater management practices, attracting the attention of engineers and policymakers from around the country.

One of the key features of the Kuhn Basin is its use of natural wetlands to treat stormwater before it is discharged into the Mill Creek. The basin is divided into several cells, each of which is planted with a variety of wetland species that help to filter out pollutants and absorb excess nutrients from the water. The wetlands also provide valuable habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, enhancing the ecological value of the basin.

In addition to its treatment capabilities, the Kuhn Basin also serves as a valuable educational resource for the community. The basin features walking trails, observation decks, and educational signage that provide visitors with information about stormwater management, wetland ecology, and the importance of protecting water resources. The basin hosts regular tours and events for schools, community groups, and policymakers, helping to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable stormwater management practices.

The success of the Kuhn Basin has inspired other municipalities to invest in similar stormwater management facilities. In recent years, cities around the country have begun to explore the use of retention treatment basins as a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution to stormwater runoff. By capturing and treating stormwater before it enters local waterways, these basins help to reduce pollution, protect water quality, and prevent flooding in urban areas.

The construction and operation of the Kuhn Basin have not been without challenges. Like many large-scale infrastructure projects, the basin has faced criticism from some members of the community who question its cost and effectiveness. Critics have raised concerns about the long-term maintenance costs of the basin, as well as its impact on local wildlife and ecosystems. However, supporters of the basin argue that the long-term benefits of the facility far outweigh any potential drawbacks, citing its success in reducing flooding and improving water quality in the region.

Overall, the George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin stands as a shining example of innovative stormwater management practices in action. By combining flood protection, water treatment, and ecological restoration in one facility, the basin demonstrates the potential of sustainable infrastructure to address the complex challenges of urban development and environmental conservation. As cities around the country continue to grapple with the impacts of climate change, the Kuhn Basin serves as a beacon of hope, showing that with vision, dedication, and collaboration, it is possible to create a more resilient and sustainable future for all.


1. “George W. Kuhn Retention Treatment Basin”, Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District, Accessed 12 October 2021.

2. “Stormwater Management and Wet Weather Flow Control”, US Environmental Protection Agency, Accessed 12 October 2021.

3. “The Role of Wetlands in Stormwater Management”, Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland, Accessed 12 October 2021.


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