Officials Say No Sewer Could've Handled Storm, River Flood Unlikely

by Gabe Bullard on August 5, 2009

Metro Louisville officials continue to say the city’s infrastructure is not to blame for yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) severe flooding in central and west Louisville.

About seven inches of rain fell on Louisville Tuesday, some 6 inches of which came in less than 90 minutes.

Metro Sewer District Director Bud Schardein says that much rain falling that fast is enough to overload any sewer system, including the one under central and west Louisville, which is among the largest in the world.

“It runs from Iroquois Park to the northeast across Taylor Boulevard, Churchill Downs, through southern Louisville, through southwestern Louisville to Bell’s Lane. It’s 23 feet in diameter,” he says.

Schardein says in order to handle the rain, a sewer would have to be wider than the streets. He also says the rain did not raise the Ohio River enough to pose a risk of further flooding.

“This storm, as freakish as it was, dropped from directly north to directly south and dissipated, so it’s basically getting out of the main stem of the Ohio River valley,” he says. “The storms that we have experienced in the past several weeks have done practically the same thing; they haven’t tracked up the river.”

Schardein says sewers can still overflow if significant rain falls soon.

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{ 1 comment }

Deb S August 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

This has been called a once in 100 years storm, yet I don’t know if there has ever been this much rain in this short of an amount of time ever before. While climate change is not is not solely responsible for any one storm what is obvious to me is we are experiencing what are supposed to be very rare events all the time now. Not addressing climate change effectively, by getting off coal and oil is getting more expensive everyday. We must start to cut our CO2 emissions asap.

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