MSD Awating Word From FEMA on Grant to Buy Flood-Prone Homes

by Gabe Bullard on March 21, 2011

The Ohio River is receding, eliminating the threat of floods for many Louisville residents. But parts of the city are still prone to floods, and not because they’re near the river.

The river wasn’t a factor in the August 2009 flood. That’s when heavy rainfall inundated sewers, causing water to flow into streets and houses.

The Metro Sewer District’s solution to the problem is to buy homes—mostly in west and southwest Louisville—and destroy them to create absorbent ground and keep rainwater out of the sewers.

MSD director Bud Schardein says the district will offer a fair value for homes.

“You’d have to get into negotiation before you make any determination on that. We’re not going to offer people a pittance. Homes will be appraised. We’ve done this before in some of the suburban areas and it’s met with a great deal of success,” he says.

When the idea was first proposed, some residents questioned whether the sale price of their homes would be enough for them to relocate to another part of the city. Schardein says no one will be forced to leave.

Schardein optimistic the Federal Emergency Management Agency will approve the city’s grant request, and he hopes to hear from the agency soon.

“I’m told it’s going to be in the very near future. What that near future is could be a month, two months. I just can’t pinpoint it,” he says.

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