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Louisville Homeowners Deal With Devastating Floods (Yet Again) Following Weekend Storm

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Justin Brock in the flood-damaged first floor of his house.

Several homeowners in Louisville’s Riviera neighborhood off River Road are dealing with—yet again—devastating floods following weekend storms.

About four months ago, several homeowners living in the neighborhood were flooded out of their homes. After months of wrangling with local officials, many were only recently able to make repairs and make their houses livable again. And then it flooded again on Sunday.

Homeowners such as Justin Brock say they are at a loss for words following the latest storm. They're also concerned about the potential for more weather-related issues expected this week.

But  Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District officials said they aren’t to blame here.

MSD is the city's floodplain manager. Chief of Operations Brian Bingham said there was little his agency could do to prevent the neighborhood from flooding once again.

“There are certain homes that are so low in the system that they are going to flood every time we have a significant event,” he said.

Due to climate change, Bingham said the city is dealing with major rain storms more frequently.

“What we know is that our systems are being overwhelmed more frequently,” he explained. “We are looking ways that we can improve them as much as possible. But there are certain limitations to that.”

Bingham said some of these homeowners will be able to seek permits to rebuild yet again. But a local law prohibiting repairs to a home that amounts to 50 percent or more of a home’s value.

That’s why MSD is also working on buying out some of the homes in the city’s flood plain.

Bingham said the recent flooding underscores why the city is looking at a long-term and short-term buyout program for homes in the city’s floodplain.

But the proposed short term plan won’t help everyone. The program caps payouts from MSD at $100,000 per home. The more financially feasible option for some homeowners will be to continue repairing the same homes over and over again. That means they'll continue dealing with personal losses due to repetitive flooding.

Bingham said MSD’s buyout plan would also include federal funding. MSD’s board recently approved $1 millionfor a short term buyout program.