For years, hard rains in Lexington have caused sanitary and storm water sewer systems to overflow into streams and even homes.
These illegal “Sanitary Sewer Overflows,” are the basis of a 2006 lawsuit filed against the city by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Kentucky. A 2011 Consent Decree gives Lexington 10 years to fix the problem.
The agreement requires the city to establish a Capacity Assurance Program (CAP). It was developed by a seven-member task force that produced 19 recommendations for a plan submitted early this year to the EPA.
In April, over 12 inches of rain fell on parts of central Kentucky. That runoff, on 22 occasions, flooded the city’s pump stations for 24 hours or more. And the city says some of that raw sewage backed up into over 20 homes. Lexington is working on a permanent fix but it could take another decade. Urban County Councilmember Doug Martin says some homeowners can’t wait that long.