Environment

Louisville residents will likely see their monthly sewer bills go up in August to cover the costs of a federally mandated plan to clean up the city’s waterways.

This week, the Metropolitan Sewer District Board approved a plan to increase wastewater bills by an average of $3.47 and stormwater bills by about $.68 cents per month.

The MSD Board will vote on the 6.9 percent rate hike at a meeting in July.

More than half of the $205 million generated from the rate increase is slated for the construction of the city’s Waterway Protection Tunnel and similar projects that aim to stop the city’s combined sewer system from overflowing into the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek.

“It’s about environmental quality, it’s about public health and safety but it’s also about making sure we have assets to serve a growing community,” said MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott.

That initiative is part of $1.15 billion federal mandate under the Clean Water Act to stop most overflows by 2024.

The remaining funds will go toward maintaining the city’s aging flood protection system, improving wastewater treatment plants and floodplain management.

Parrott said the funding will continue the agency’s so-called “band-aid approach” to addressing the city’s challenges.

“It is not a comprehensive fix to the system that we recommended three years ago,” Parrott said. “These assets are vital, in some cases they are running to failure and they are becoming major risks to public health safety and the sustainability of the community.”

That recommendation came in the form of a $4.3 billion Critical Repair and Reinvestment plan that cataloged the city’s major infrastructure needs, including sewers and the flood rotection system.

 

Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org
Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.