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MSD Director Tony Parrott Talks Louisville's Failing Infrastructure

MSD Raising Flood Gates
MSD Raising Flood Gates

Major sewer pipe breaks under the streets of Louisville seemingly have become the norm. The city has seen over 1,100 cave-ins in the last fiscal year, according to the Metropolitan Sewer District. That’s in part because downtown combined sewer systems are made of aging brick and stone.

Officials say it will take more than $20 million and at least another few months to fix the sewer on Main Street. And MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott estimates there are a dozen MSD construction projects going on around the city and many more sewer pipes that are in need of repair.

I spoke with Parrott about the city's various sewer issues. Listen to our conversation in the player above.

Parrott on the age of many of Louisville's sewer pipes:

"Particularly inside the 264-loop, we have infrastructure that ranges anywhere between 75 and 150 years old. And so particularly with our combined sewer system and with our drainage system, we're starting to see a lot of these critical assets failing. The number we have since July 1, 2017, is approaching 1,600."

On the cost of the repairs:

"We do allocate approximately $2 million a year to address emergency repairs, unfortunately one or two big repairs can eat that up. So we have to look at deferring other projects that we may have scheduled for the year to be able to make up for that. Main Street, for example, the repair we're going to do there was not budgeted and it's going to cost us about $20 million."

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.