The City of Columbia hired Engineering Surveys and Services this week to fix the sewer lines that run through Flat Branch Creek and the sewer main under Sixth and Elm Street.
According to Columbia City Councilman Karl Skala, the project should take developers several years to complete.
Student housing developers are also adding $450,000 to improve the sewer line that runs underneath Turner Avenue and into the Flat Branch trunk sewer.
Columbia City Councilwoman Laura Nauser said MU's push for more students influenced the decision on the project.
"The university is making an aggressive move to increase their enrollment and with their aggressive move to bring more students to our community. Then those individuals who provide the student housing for them have also ramped up their projects and developments," Nauser said.
According to Skala, the project is necessary for the city, but funding is a critical element.
"We're going to need the sewer relief, it just remains to be seen exactly how we're going to pay for that," Skala said.
The council passed the vote on the project six to one. Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe was the only person to vote against the project.
The total cost of the project will be more than $811,000.