We have leaking sewer lines and pipes.
Storm water gets into our sewer system through leaky pipes and faulty lines. This means that our wastewater plants end up treating additional water. When it rains our treatment plants operate over 100% capacity, and when we are in a drought they operate well below capacity. This system is inefficient and ineffective.
Exploding pipes often dump sewage near or in people’s homes.
In 2005 Lex Call received 2,873 calls reporting sewer and storm water problems. When our plants operate at over 100% capacity it causes pressure to build in our pipes. This pressure creates more leaks and often leads to exploding pipes, dumping sewage and other waste near or in residences. This is a huge health hazard.
Even small breaks can cause large problems. In September 2010 a 4-inch valve broke. Over the course of six hours an estimated 83,000 gallons of sewage poured from this small valve into Elkhorn Creek. This incident killed countless fish and contaminated the local wildlife. Click Here to read more about this incident.
We cannot safely support new development with this faulty system.
The city of Lexington must address the inefficiencies and issues associated with our sanitary sewer and stormwater systems before compounding the problem with additional growth—masking underlying problems with new, and expensive infrastructure.
National authorities noticed the safety issues of our failing water quality systems and we are now paying for it.
In 2006 the EPA and Kentucky’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet filed sanctions against Lexington because our aging system violates the 1972 Clean Water Act. The resulting 2008 settlement was finally signed in January 2011. It includes repairs that are expected to cost between $250-300 million and a $425,000 civil penalty fee.
We are now faced with the daunting task of bringing our system up to par. To finance this effort, Lexingtonians must pay annual sanitary sewer and water quality fees. Click Here to see the LFUCG description of this program and Click Here to see our stance on this issue.
For More Information:
Neighborhood Association Sanitary Sewer Report, 1999
LFUCG Sanitary Sewer Oversight Committee, 2006
“Raw Sewage Pours Into Elkhorn Creek” Lexington Herald-Leader, September 26, 2010
“Lexington, KY., Agrees to Major Sewer System Upgrades” EPA Press Release March 14, 2008
“Lex. EPA Consent Decree Signed by Judge” Business Lexington by Tom Martin, January 4, 2011