LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Sewer District has activated 12 of the city’s 16 pumping stations across the city to reduce the impact of rising floodwaters from the Ohio River. The stations went into service last weekend.
Louisville MSD spokesperson Sheryl Lauder said the pumping stations are a “crucial piece” of the flood protection system. The agency’s flood protection department operates each pumping station as needed.
Each station pumps water from swollen creeks within Metro Louisville into the Ohio River while also keeping water from the Ohio out of the city. Lauder said each pumping station is operating at “minor flood mode.”
“On a regular day you canoe or kayak right through there, when the river comes up, we have to keep the river from coming into the city,” Lauder said. “That’s what these pump stations do they take an opening in the river, close it off, and then the water that’s still continuing to drain out of the county is what needs to be pumped out into the river.”
Speaking to WAVE 3 at a pumping station along Beargrass Creek, Lauder explained those sites are just one part of the city’s flood protection system.
“We have a little over 26 miles of floodwall and earthen levee,” she said. “It’s flood wall in the city, then it turns into earthen levy south of the city into Valley Station.”
MSD has also installed a floodwall road closure where 27th Street meets the river. Lauder said each piece of MSD’s plan will help reopen some roads that have closed due to flooding after the Ohio River reaches its peak.
The river is expected to crest Saturday at 29.5 feet.
“We expect the river to crest over the weekend, sometime Saturday night into Sunday, and after that it will recede pretty quickly, then the water will start leaving those roadways,” she said.
However, Lauder explained that not all streets within Metro Louisville are within the Ohio River flood protection system. The intersection of River Road and Zorn Avenue was several feet underwater Friday; it remains outside of the flood protection system.
With water still covering some streets, MSD is urging caution.
“While we do have water on the roadways, do not drive into it, no matter what. Turn around, find another way,” Lauder said.
Metro Louisville residents can call MSD at (502) 540-6000 or Metro 311 to report flooded roads. Reports can also be filed on the MSD website.