MSD Still Calculating Cost of Running Pumps

by Dalton Main on May 4, 2011

The Ohio River has been higher than average since February, and the Metropolitan Sewer District is starting to pay the price for holding the water back.

But Executive Director Bud Schardein says the prevention of flooding has been worth the extra labor and energy costs. “It’s all been what I consider a success,” he says “but it comes at a price, we don’t have energy or fuel costs calculated yet, it’s too soon for that, but we’re running an approximate total on personnel hours and we can dedicate probably 300,000 or 350,000 over regular hours.”

Schardein says the cost could have been much higher had some of the pumps failed.  While not necessarily a regularly used utility, he says the flood protection system’s dependability is extremely important.

Louisville Metro Government officials are still tallying the cost of damage and cleanup from severe flooding in recent weeks.

The Metropolitan Sewer District has not yet calculated the extra energy costs of running flood pumping stations, but the agency has logged around $300,000 in overtime hours for workers who kept the system running.  The river has been above normal pool since February and the pumping stations have kept damage to a minimum.

If the city can claim $2.4 million or more in damages, Metro Government can request federal assistance. As of last week, $600,000 had been spent to keep flood pumps running and officials estimated an additional $100,000 would be necessary to repair and clean streets.

Emergency Management Director Doug Hamilton gave agencies until Monday to report any damages, but the deadline was apparently lifted and the review continues. City officials declined to say whether a new deadline has been set. The Ohio River is expected to rise slightly this week due to additional rainfall.

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