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Louisville MSD raises rates for Jefferson and Oldham County customers

 A view inside Louisville's Waterway Protection Tunnel.
Ryan Van Velzer
A view inside Louisville's Waterway Protection Tunnel.

Jefferson County residential customers can expect an average rate increase of $4.84 on their monthly wastewater bill. Oldham County customers will see an average increase of about $3.56 per month. The new rates take effect in August.

Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Tony Parrott told LPM News Tuesday the additional funding will go toward capital improvements to fix the city’s aging sewer, stormwater and flood protection systems.

“We understand that no one likes rate increases, but our assets are vital to the protection of our community, and it’s also vital for the improvement of the water quality in our waterways,” Parrott said.

Louisville’s an old city. Every day, people drive through downtown streets over massive brick-lined sewer interceptors, some of which were built in the years after the Civil War. Despite the substantial investments the city’s made in its sewer and stormwater system -- like the waterway protection tunnel -- there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Over the 2024 budget year, MSD is set to invest more than $255 million in support of 189 different projects. That includes a major investment in the city’s 65-year-old wastewater treatment system to improve processing volumes and reduce pollution discharged into the Ohio River.

Funding will also go toward improvements at the 70-year-old Paddy’s Run Flood Pump Station, which protects some 200,000 properties in and around west Louisville.

“We know that there has been an increased frequency of extreme storm events over the last decade, and it's continuing to get worse,” Parrot said. “When we do redesign and rebuild our pump stations, we’re adding more capacity to handle future climate change and river rise and river flooding.”

Parrot said MSD currently has around $2 billion dollars in debt, and the rate increase will help the utility borrow more money for future projects.

Louisville MSD remains under an amended consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aimed at reducing the amount of raw sewage that flows into the city’s waterways.

Parrot said the waterway protection tunnel was one of the last projects in the city’s combined sewer overflow system (which is mostly inside Interstate 264), but consent decree projects will continue through 2035.

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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