Environment

Louisville residents will see their monthly sewer bills increase starting on Thursday, August 1. The Metropolitan Sewer District approved the rate increase Monday; it’s identical to the proposal the board preliminarily approved in May.

The money will go toward two huge initiatives. One is fulfilling the city’s EPA Consent Decree to cut down on the stormwater released into the city’s tributaries. The city has until 2024 to finish the $1.15 billion plan, which includes projects like the massive four-mile Waterway Protection Tunnel to store excess sewage and wastewater.

The other is addressing critical system repairs, like investing in aging flood protection and pumping infrastructure. MSD has laid out a 20 year, $4.3 billion plan to address issues like neighborhood flooding and sewer collapses, but has not been able to raise rates at the level the agency says it needs to fully fund those projects.

The agency will also undertake projects to upgrade water quality treatment facilities and buy out homes in the floodplain over the next 12 months

This new rate rate is a 6.9 percent increase over the previous rate, which is the highest amount the agency can raise rates without Metro Council approval. For the past several years, MSD officials have unsuccessfully asked Metro Council to raise rates higher, citing the city’s infrastructure needs. A spokeswoman said the agency hadn’t requested a larger rate increase this year.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.