A monster Metropolitan Water Reclamation District sewer repair project scheduled to begin this year in North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield has been postponed, say officials, for up to a decade.

Last year the MWRD announced that in spring 2012 it would begin a 28-month, $37.5 million refurbishment of the Salt Creek interceptor, a sewer line that serves 173,000 people in 15 suburban communities.

The 2-mile sewer line runs through the heart of the Landmark coverage area, south down First Avenue from Roosevelt Road. At Forest Avenue, it heads east into Riverside and then south of the tracks and along Riverside Road until it exits the village at Miller Road.

Another branch heads west down Ridgewood Road/Washington Avenue. It makes a T again at Arden, heading north and south from there. The work was going to include the construction of drop shafts to repair the original concrete pipe, which was installed in 1927. The work would have disrupted traffic on First Avenue and in Riverside and Brookfield.

But that’s all on hold now after MWRD officials temporarily removed the project from its capital plan, said Kenneth Kits, director of engineering for the MWRD. Large-scale projects, such as the intercepting sewer project, are paid for through the sale of bonds.

“We’ve moved a number of projects back because of funding limitations,” Kits said.

The move came after a request by the MWRD’s executive director, David St. Pierre, to have another look at the capital plan. With the Environmental Protection Agency mandating new requirements for limiting chemicals in waste water, it just wasn’t possible to fund every project, Kits said.

“[The EPA mandates] take up a lot of capital dollars,” Kits said. “Because they are regulations, we are bound to fit that in. It’s caused us to push things farther back than we would have liked.”

Carmen Scalise, principal civil engineer for MWRD, confirmed that the Salt Creek interceptor project is currently scheduled for July 2022.

The project was identified as one that needed to be completed “within 10 years,” allowing the MWRD to push it back a bit.

But Kits said that doesn’t mean it will take a decade for that work to begin. As the work to meet the EPA mandates is completed, he said, the hope is that some work will come in under budget, allowing the agency to put other projects back in the pipeline.

“The hope is when we move forward, some of the preliminary estimates will come down to a reasonable level, so we can move projects back into the plan,” Kits said. “They weren’t removed because we thought those plans were not needed.”