MSD expects more line collapses after heavy rain

Heavy rain may cause more line collapses, MSD says
Storms and rain halted MSD repair projects downtown. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Storms and rain halted MSD repair projects downtown. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
A flooded road in Cherokee Park. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
A flooded road in Cherokee Park. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As Metro Sewer District contractors worked around the clock to fix major line collapses, the act of nature that officials said caused them is halting progress and may create even more problems.

Storms with less water have caused major sewer line collapses in just the past several months. Officials said the holes typically show up one to three weeks after the rain comes down.

Driving around Cherokee Park after a heavy rain on Thursday, storm drainage was enough to close the road and make MSD supervisor Tony Linton turn around, to be safe, as he was inspecting it.

"It's got to go somewhere," Linton said. "So it goes to the ditch lines and then it finds its way to the creek."

While the heavy rain made Linton's day busier, MSD contractors fixing sewer line collapses, which officials said were caused by the pressure on the system from other storms, were not at the job site.

"A rain like today halts that work," MSD Director of Intergovernmental Relations Wesley Sydnor said. "It's not safe to work in those conditions, as well as it's not productive."

The rain could stall the emergency repair project on Broadway and preventive work on West Main Street a day or longer.

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MSD leaders said Thursday's rain may have even costlier effects.

"So, the expectation is that, once we get out of this rain event, and things start to subside, that we will start to see some of these cave-ins again," Sydnor said. "That's our expectation."

An expectation, as wet soil loosened near weak spots on the Civil War era lines, that Sydnor said MSD is trying to monitor. And, as the clouds clear, they will have to wait and see if another major emergency fix will be needed again.

MSD officials said they've been scrambling to fix the aging infrastructure, calling their current methods a band-aid approach to the problem.

They add Metro Council would need to pass a plan they have proposed to overhaul the entire system.

You can call 311 or the MSD call center at 540-6000 to report a collapse.

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