Environment
5:00 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

New Pavement at Ford Plant Diverts Millions of Gallons of Stormwater From Waterways

Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant is getting recognition for a green infrastructure project the company completed last year.

The plant has a lot of paved surfaces…the employee parking lot alone is about 20 acres. And all of that pavement means when it rains, gallons of water and pollution runoff into nearby streams.

But now, about a quarter of that parking area has been replaced with pervious pavement. When it rains, the water runs through the pavement and back into the groundwater table. Ford Environmental Control Engineer Greg Long says the project was a logical one for the company.

“It was an opportunity to implement a green infrastructure project that was kind of beneficial for the community as a whole,” he said.

The total project cost about $1.5 million, and $1.3 million of that was paid for by the Metropolitan Sewer District. Wes Sydnor is an engineer with MSD. He says Ford’s project is one of the biggest in the city, but MSD is looking at other ways to reduce paved surfaces and redirect rainwater back into the ground. That’s especially necessary in areas inside the Watterson, where storm water goes directly into the combined sewer and contributes to sewer overflows.

“In a downtown situation, if this project were in the middle of the city, that water would be going to the combined system, so that rainwater would be filling up the combined system,” he said.

MSD is under a federal consent decree to reduce the frequency of combined sewer overflows.

Long says so far, an added benefit of the project has been a reduction in pools of water—and ice—when it snows in the winter.