Environment

Repairs on a sewer pipe that carries about 40 percent of Jefferson County’s wastewater are complete eight months after workers found corrosive sewer gases eating away the pipe’s concrete lining.

Despite setbacks, Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Tony Parrott said crews have fixed the pipe, and come in just under the $20 million dollar budget allocated for the project.

“We were able to stay pretty much on schedule. We said that we were going to be wrapping up toward the end of November, early December. So here we are, the lining work has been completed and our contractors are demobilizing,” Parrott said.

Back in April, sewer officials discovered corrosive sewer gases had eaten away the concrete lining of the pipe.

To fix it, workers had to tear up parts of Main Street in Downtown Louisville, creating headaches for commuters and business owners. Things got worse in the summer when workers discovered a large void underneath Main Street, Parrott said.

“When we started the work in August, we actually had an enormous void under Main Street. It was about 50-foot wide, 60-foot long, 25-foot deep void,” Parrott said.

For a time, sewer officials limited traffic to one lane along parts of Main Street.

This repair is one of many MSD has planned to stop polluting Louisville waterways with overflows from the city’s aging sewer system. The city has until 2024 to comply with a federal consent decree mandating the repairs.

One way the city plans to prevent overflows is through the construction of the Waterway Protection Tunnel, a massive underground tunnel that will extend four miles under the city and hold up to 55 million gallons of sewage and stormwater.

 

Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org

 

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