Improving Our Community Waterways Together

Addressing Louisville's Overflow Challenges

Today, MSD serves approximately 220,000 customer accounts and approximately 693,000 people by operating and maintaining the following sewer assets:

  • 6 regional water quality treatment centers
  • 19 small water quality treatment centers 
  • 304 pumping stations
  • 3,200 miles of sewers, 660 miles which are original combined sewers 
  • The Ohio River Flood Protection System, including 16 flood pumping stations and 29 miles of floodwall 

MSD has already completed more than $1.4 billion in capital expansion and upgrades to wastewater and stormwater facilities:

  • 40,000 septic tanks have been eliminated 
  • 200+ neglected sewer systems have been acquired
  • 100+ small pump stations have been eliminated
  • 300+ small treatment plants have been eliminated 
  • 5 Regional Water Quality Treatment Centers have been built and/or expanded to provide better treatment of wastewater from homes, businesses, and industries 

Still, we continue to face challenges from sanitary and combined sewer overflows, especially during wet weather.  Under the Federal Consent Decree, a suite of projects aimed at reducing CSOs must be completed by 2020 and the Nine Minimum Controls (NMC) program activities must be incorporated into daily operating programs.  A similar suite of projects aimed at eliminating SSOs must be completed by 2024 and the Capacity Management Operations and Maintenance (CMOM) program activities must be incorporated into daily operating programs. These projects and programs will include activities such as:

  • Adding wet weather storage basins to the combined sewer system 
  • Cleaning sewers of roots, sand, gravel and debris to increase carrying capacity 
  • Repairing sewer leaks that allow groundwater into the sewer system 
  • Removing illegal clean-water connections (downspouts, area drains and sump pumps) 

There are 16 communities in Kentucky that have combined sewer overflows and many others that have sanitary sewer overflow problems. Some, like Louisville and the communities in Northern Kentucky that are served by Sanitation District No. 1 are currently under Federal Consent Decrees.  Lexington is also under a Federal Consent Decree addressing sanitary sewer overflows and storm water system deficiencies.  

According to EPA and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection it is their intent that every CSO community either be under a Federal Consent Decree or a State Agreed Order to address sewer overflows.  As the largest city in Kentucky, Louisville was first; but, all the other communities with overflow issues will follow in order of priority that will generally follow the size of the population served.


Return to Louisville's Sewer Overflows Page