Water Equity Clearinghouse

Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District

Louisville, KY

Louisville MSD (Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District) works to achieve and maintain clean, environmentally safe waterways for a healthy and vibrant community. The organization’s more than 600 employees provide wastewater management, drainage and flood protection services across the 376 square miles of Louisville Metro. They are committed to open and honest communication with the community, advocacy on behalf of public health and safety, and the improvement of waterways through infrastructure maintenance and community collaboration.

Louisville MSD invests in hundreds of infrastructure improvement projects each year. They plant more than 1,000 trees and other vegetation annually to enhance water filtration and reduce runoff, and provide numerous outreach programs to inform and educate the community about protecting our waterways.

Underground storage is part of Louisville MSD’s larger endeavor to prevent sewage from overflowing into local waterways. Planned basins— throughout the service area—and the Ohio River Tunnel are designed to capture rainwater and sewage, which otherwise can overwhelm the sewer system during rain events and flow untreated into local waterways. As an example, the Southwestern Parkway Basin—currently under construction—is located under the great lawn in Shawnee Park. When completed, the project will be largely invisible to the public and will enhance not only the water quality of the Ohio River, but also the quality of one of Louisville’s premiere parks. Prior to design and construction, Louisville MSD sought input from the community about the location, aesthetics, and end use of the area above and around the basin.

Louisville MSD is addressing a localized flooding issue through its Maple Street Land Use Planning Project, which also has utilized a community outreach approach. The California Neighborhood is made up of mostly low-income property owners who have experienced repeated flood damage. After a particularly detrimental flood in 2009, FEMA awarded the city a grant to purchase and demolish homes on lots that are prone to stormwater and sewer flooding. Louisville MSD invited residents, community-based organizations, and partner agencies to join the Community of the Future Advisory Committee to shape ideas for possible land use on these empty lots.

MSD is proud to connect minority-owned and woman-owned businesses with opportunities that build sustainable relationships and an exceptional supply base. This benefits its customers and the community. In 2016, $40 million was earned by women- and minority-owned businesses through Louisville MSD contracts.

Louisville MSD recognizes that homeownership is expensive when it comes to upkeep and infrastructural maintenance, as homeowners are responsible for maintaining sewer service lines from houses to the property line. Replacing or repairing these lines can be costly. The utility’s Sanitary Sewer Line Replacement program provides qualified homeowners with a loan of up to $5,000 with no interest. Additionally, they recognize the strain that bills can put on senior citizens. To mitigate this situation, the utility offers a 30 percent discount off of sanitary sewer services for those who are 65 years or older and make less than $35,000 a year.