Sanitation district struggles to fix Bullitt County's problem-plagued sewer lines

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Another sewage spill in Bullitt County is adding waste to the water.

Two years after WDRB exposed the community's problem-plagued sewer lines, the agency tasked with the fix hasn't done the job. 

Resident Gail Cunningham took her concerns to Facebook.

"Wherever you flush your toilet, guess where it goes?" she asked in a Facebook video. "It goes in my yard."

It's not the first time -- not by a long shot. Not even the second, third or fourth. 

"I've been here for five years, and it's a weekly basis," Cunningham said.

Sewage has overflowed outside Cunningham's Hillview home so many times, even the repairman lost count.

"It is frustrating dealing with the customers who are upset -- and I understand..." said Brandon Waggoner, supervisor for the Bullitt County Sanitation District.

The state ordered the Bullitt County Sanitation District to fix its busted sewage lines more than two years ago -- in essence, to clean up its act. 

"It's disgusting," Cunningham said. "You can't sit on your deck. You can't enjoy anything because of the smell -- and then you get the bugs that go with it." 

The Bullitt County Sanitation District already had problems, but then was forced to take over the sewage service in Hunters Hollow, after a private company abandoned its collapsed site and went into bankruptcy. 

Supervisor Waggoner says BCSD now has eight sewage treatment plants in its system

He said some of them are 20-or-more years past their replacement age -- and not in good working order.

Wednesday night's problem in front of Cunningham's home was a, "Mechanical failure, pumps went down," said Waggoner. "It was replaced."

The black sludge flowing into a nearby creek is raw sewage, and it's coming from a BCSD water treatment plant a couple of blocks away, flowing from a pipe. The water flowing from that pipe and into the creek is supposed to be as clear as what you drink. 

It's not.

"I'm trying to do my best with what I got," Waggoner said. "When I don't have the money to replace them, I've got to do what I can."

The county just approved a significant rate hike for BCSD, with customers paying 12 percent more each year for the next 10 years. 

"We're giving them money for their crap," Cunningham said.

But that money isn't going toward fixing old problems -- it's being used to shut down the smaller, old plants and build new ones.

"It would eliminate all of the issues," Waggoner said.

Officials plan to build a new, $2 million sewage plant in Bullitt County. It is expected to take two years to build. Until then, it will be more of the same for Cunningham and her neighbors.

"I wish they'd just fix it right," Cunningham said.

The average sewage bill in the Bullitt County Sanitation District is around $32 a month. With this year's rate hike, customers will pay around $3.75 more per month. 

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