MSD predicts failure of massive sewer line in downtown Louisville if not repaired

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Metropolitan Sewer District is starting a $20 million project to repair one of the city's largest sewer lines. 

MSD says the massive sewer pipe under West Main Street could fail, if it's not fixed soon, and they have a plan to make the repairs without ripping up all of the street. 

Crews will fix the sewer line from underground, entering from metal hatches.  

The project comes after video and laser inspections on the pipe. Those inspections revealed structural issues, putting the pipe at risk for a major cave-in.The pipe runs beneath Main Street and needs to be replaced after having ruptured multiple times. 

The 60-year-old sewer line is one of Louisville's largest. 

It is the same pipe that caved in last August at the intersection of Main and Hancock Streets. That cave-in took about six weeks to repair.

The pipe carries about 40 percent of the city's waste water flow to a treatment plant, then out to the Ohio River. That water will be diverted to different pipes during the project. 

MSD posted a video of the inside of the sewer line to be repaired. The video shows the scope of the huge tunnel beneath the downtown streets. 

MSD has requested a three percent rate increase to cover the cost of the repairs, and Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith is co-sponsoring a proposed ordinance that would grant that request.

"We need to start doing this repair work before we have loss of life and critical loss of infrastructure facility," Sexton Smith said in April. "This is the largest system in our entire county, and it affects everyone that lives here, travels here and does business here."

On Friday, MSD executive director Tony Parrott said he thinks the repair plan will work for drivers and crews making the repairs. 

"It the best solution for us because we know that is this is a very vital piece of infrastructure, but at the same time we know we can’t close Main Street," Parrot said. 

Officials hope to have the project wrapped up by November.


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