Leaders break ground on Phase One of Jeffersonville sewer projec - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Leaders break ground on Phase One of Jeffersonville sewer project

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sewer bills in Jeffersonville have tripled over three years, all to address toxic water -- and at times, toilet water -- polluting the Ohio River.

Neighbors have grown weary paying more, yet waiting for a fix. But today, that wait is over.

"It has been a long, contentious fight," said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore.

The project, which broke ground Tuesday, will separate Jeffersonville's storm water from its sewer water, to fulfill an order by the EPA. Resident Keith Antz is vested in the solution, as the river reflects onto his front door step.

"They have to do something," Antz said. "This water flooding problem has been going on for too many years."

In 2009 the EPA mandated that the city reduce its sewage overflow. Antz says he has watched the plan for a fix flip and flop ever since.

"I kept track of it with the past administration wanting to put in the canal, which I felt was a good idea," Antz said. "We could have built on both sides of it."

But the canal never got off the ground because Mayor Moore, who had just taken office, said Jeffersonville couldn't afford the $69 million price tag.

Instead, with this project, the city is putting $2 million into a complex underground piping system. The network will essentially catch polluted water, taking the sewage to a pumping station, and the storm runoff to a retention pond.

"If it works, that's fine, but I think it's going to be more than $2 million," Antz said.

Moore says the money saved will be invested in a gateway project to attract new business.

"You will see more groundbreaking on restaurants, a hotel, some retail," said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. "So a $30 million project lay in the wake of what's about to come. Let's get rid of the infrastructure problems first. We'll take care of this and then we'll see something really nice built, with the skyline of Louisville as it's backdrop."

Despite the savings, Antz does not expect a break on those climbing water bills, which have tripled over three years.

"They're not going down," Antz said. "I guarantee they're not going down."

But with construction starting, at least he says he can see his money is not going down the drain.

Phase One of the underground interceptor project is expected to be completed within six months.

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