LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Metropolitan Sewer District has opened the last of its $250 million overflow basins.
The ten basins, along with an underground tunnel still under construction, are designed to keep wastewater out of the Ohio River and neighborhood streets during rainstorms.
"Our goal is, once all of these basins and tunnel projects are done, that we will able to capture and treat approximately 98% of the flow in the system," MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott said.
The basins have a total storage capacity of nearly 195 million gallons, with the tunnel adding another 55 million gallons of storage capacity.
The projects are part of a more than $1 billion federally mandated program to upgrade Louisville’s wastewater system.
"MSD, I think, is doing a really great job going about doing the work they've done, quietly and effectively," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said during the ribbon-cutting of the final basin.
But as MSD celebrated the completion of one major accomplishment, one neighborhood continues dealing with a project still undone.
MSD had planned to build another wastewater basin on Lexington Road. But the agency changed course last year, abandoning that project and deciding instead to extend the underground tunnel.
In the meantime, the property is still very much a construction zone. Graffiti, torn fencing and overgrown brush have made the site a major eyesore at one of Louisville's busiest intersections.
"It's not nice to look at," said Marty Hayse, the manager of Le Moo restaurant, which is right across the street from the site.
"To be able to look out the window and see something other than a green construction fence would be pleasant."
Though there will not be basin there, MSD said the site will connect to the tunnel. That means it will be a construction zone until at least the end of 2020 when the project is finished.
"We'll make sure that we do everything we can to manage the site as best we can until the tunnel project is done," Parrott said.
In the short term, MSD said it will repair the damaged fence. Ultimately, the agency said it plans to turn much of the property into a green space and reopen the closed Beargrass Creek Trail.
"The one thing we do know is it's going to be better than what it was before," Parrott said.
Hayse said that cannot come soon enough.
"I'm looking forward to the completion of that and just helping the city grow and everything around us to be beautiful," Hayse said.
Parrott said MSD still also plans to sell off part of the roughly 10 acres for possible development.
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