Improving Our Community Waterways Together

Federal Consent Decree

The Consent Decree is a federally-enforceable, legally binding agreement that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Water Act for untreated overflows from Louisville’s combined and separate sanitary sewer systems.   During rainstorms, the sewers become overloaded with rainwater and discharge the combined water and sewage into local streams and the Ohio River.  These overflows are due to several issues, including some that stem back to the construction of the first sewers in Louisville in the early 1800’s.

The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has committed to take necessary measures for controlling overflows under a Federal Amended Consent Decree entered into Federal Court on August 12, 2005.  The Consent Decree is between MSD, the US Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP). 

On December 1, 2008, a draft Amended Consent Decree was released for public comment.  This amendment addressed additional alleged violations of the Clean Water Act primarily related to water quality treatment center performance, record-keeping, and reporting.  The public comment period closed on the draft amended consent decree on December 31, 2008.  It was entered into Federal Court on April 15, 2009. 

In accordance with the requirements of the Amended Consent Decree, MSD prepared a comprehensive plan to reduce and mitigate the effects of wet weather combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and other unauthorized discharges.  This comprehensive plan, known as the Integrated Overflow Abatement Plan (IOAP) integrates these system improvements into one coordinated response.  The IOAP consists of three inter-dependent volumes:  Volume I, Integrated Overflow Abatement Plan; Volume II, Final CSO Long-Term Control Plan; and Volume III, Final Sanitary Sewage Discharge Plan. 


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