- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District needs to spend up to $4.3 billion over the next two decades on its sewage and Ohio River flood protection systems, according to engineering consultants.

A long-term facilities plan written by the engineers for the district identifies 506 potential projects, The Louisville Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/2jwn1fw) reported.

The plan suggests spending about $617 million through 2024 to finish and maintain new facilities. Those upgrades were required by a federal consent decree a decade ago to reduce overflows of sewage into area waterways.

“We have this bucket that is old, and we have been trying to keep it together with Band-Aids because our consent decree has dominated agency spending,” MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott said. “We are having these flooding issues, we are having these wastewater backup issues, and we are having crumbling infrastructure under everybody’s feet that nobody can see.”

The engineering report suggests a 23 percent increase in sewer rates in the first year, followed by more routine and decreasing rates through 2036. The district has made no recommendation on rate changes and is starting a public comment process on the facilities plan.

“This report and the public process that follows is important to help educate citizens about the real and long-term needs in Louisville to combat flooding and protect the city,” Poynter said in a written statement. “It’s important first to understand the scope of the issues.”

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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