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This Week In Conversation: Louisville's Sewers Are Crumbling. What Can The City Do About It?

Much of Louisville’s infrastructure needs repairs, but the city has a long way to go before it can upgrade its aging systems.

The Metropolitan Sewer District recorded more than 1,100 cave-ins last fiscal year, with some of them crippling major thoroughfares such as Main Street and Baxter Avenue. A 2019 evaluation by the American Society for Civil Engineers found the state’s infrastructure is crumbling faster than investment in its repairs, earning Kentucky’s roads, bridges, sewers, water treatment and other systems a grade of “C-”. That grade mirrors the state of infrastructure in most of the country, but it was a worse grade than Kentucky received in 2011.

Yet fixing Louisville’s sewers and other parts of its infrastructure would be costly. MSD estimates it would cost around $4.3 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade its wastewater, stormwater and flood protection systems — that includes, according to MSD’s website, nearly $500 million to comply with a federal order to reduce sewer overflows.

On WFPL’s In Conversation this week, we’ll talk about infrastructure in Louisville and the rest of the state, and hear what steps MSD is taking to upgrade its systems.

Our guests will include Metropolitan Sewer District Director Tony Parrott and Dr. Tom Rockaway, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Louisville.

Listen to In Conversation live on 89.3 WFPL Friday at 11 a.m. or follow along with our live Tweets at @WFPLnews. Call with your questions or comments at 502-814-TALK or tweet us with the hashtag #WFPLconversation. We’re also on Facebook.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.

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