Sunday June 26, 2022
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Louisville Metro Emergency Services provided this update today on the heavy rains and potential for flash flooding in Louisville:

  • MSD, our city’s Public Works and first responders remain in communication about the potential for flash flooding.
  • The EOC was activated this morning to Level 1, which involves personnel monitoring the situation, and assisting with potential needs of agencies involved in the event. Key city officials are alerted to Level 1 status by text, which initiates a chain of communication among senior leadership, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
  • With the National Weather Service predicting more heavy rain over the next two days, MetroSafe will continue to monitor conditions and activate the EOC as appropriate.
  • Louisville Fire had only one rescue call today. A motorist attempted to drive through standing water, and their car stalled at Frankfort Avenue and Cable Street. The motorist was rescued.
  • Since 6 a.m. Saturday through 4 p.m. today, MSD’s Call Center answered 437 customer calls.
  • MSD has crews out in the community throughout any weather event, monitoring stormwater drainage channels and pipes, catch basins.
  • Public Works also is patrolling roads to clear any clogged catch basins and reduce flooding. Public Works received two calls today; both related to clogged catch basins. Both were cleared.
  • Public Works has crews on standby to place barricades if streets must be closed, and have ordered additional barricades to be used if needed.
  • We encourage the media to continue to share our reminders to the public to stay away from pooling water and to “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.”

Next Steps

  • The city’s Public Works’ Road division has inspected the city’s 32 viaducts and found that 17 of them are marked with signs advising motorists, “Do Not Enter When Flooded.” In other areas, those signs have been removed; the city is taking steps to replace those.
  • Public Works also is working with MSD to identify the potential standing water depth in each of 32 viaducts in our community and then paint visible marks on each, as an additional warning to keep people from driving through during a heavy rain event.
  • The city will use data from MSD, the National Weather Service, Louisville Fire and MetroSafe to project potential dangerous water conditions in the steepest and deepest viaducts and establish a mechanism to trigger visible warning lights to avoid entering flooded areas.

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority, and I am extremely confident in the commitment in the work of our police, fire and emergency management teams,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “It’s important that citizens be our partner in this mission, taking the steps they can to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Louisville Metro Emergency Services, Louisville Fire Department (LFD) and Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) officials provided a briefing today about the city’s response to a 2-hour flash flooding event on Saturday, Sept. 8, including steps being taken to better educate the public about the dangers of flash flooding and to provide more warning for high-water incidents.

Louisville Metro Public Services Chief Doug Hamilton conveyed the city’s condolences to the family and friends of Abdinasir Siyat, a local taxi driver who drowned that night after driving his car into a flooded viaduct at 13th Street and West Oak.

“This is a tragedy, and we’re all saddened by Mr. Siyat’s death,” Chief Hamilton said, adding that some details of that incident cannot be released until a Louisville Metro Police Department death investigation is complete, in approximately 90 days.

Timeline of event

  • Jody Meiman, executive director for Emergency Services, said the first call to MetroSafe 911 about Mr. Siyat came at 8:44 p.m. on Sept. 8 from his employer, Yellow Cab, which said he needed help, but was unable to provide his location. MetroSafe took Mr. Siyat’s number from Yellow Cab and unsuccessfully attempted to call him twice.
  • Siyat called 911 himself, at 8:46 p.m., and told the dispatcher that he was at Dixie and Oak streets. MetroSafe dispatched Louisville Fire to Dixie and Oak; they arrived at 8:54 p.m. but found no one.
  • At that same time, a passing motorist called to report a vehicle in the water at 13th and Oak. LFD was dispatched to that location, arriving at 8:56 p.m. to find a vehicle fully submerged. A swift water team entered the water at 9 p.m. but was unable to access the vehicle, and reported they could find no victims. They were cleared from the scene and sent to other rescue calls.
  • Siyat was found unresponsive in his car at 10:47 p.m., after the floodwaters had receded.

Early weather reports for that weekend predicted a total of 2 to 3 inches of rain, which generally isn’t a problem for Louisville’s sewer system to handle, said MSD Operations Chief Brian Bingham. But the storm was worse than predicted and produced a record rainfall for the date – with variations throughout the county for the four-day period ending on Sept 9, from 2.36 inches in some parts to 7.91 inches in others.

Noting the unpredictability of such storms, Chief Hamilton reminded the public today of the need to take precautions around flood waters, as intense rain events can very quickly inundate an area, and not to attempt to drive through floodwaters.

In all, Louisville Fire and Suburban Fire responded to 72 water rescue calls during the two-hour rain event, including many individuals who drove into standing water and, in some cases, around barriers.

Director Meiman noted that he and his staff were in contact with the National Weather Service (NWS) throughout the day on Sept. 8 — and based on those conversations, were expecting 2-3 inches of rain through the next day. When the rain began to intensify, and Emergency Management began getting real-time impacts of the storm from the NWS and MetroSafe, officials opened the city’s Emergency Operations Center to a Level 1, which involves personnel monitoring the situation, and assisting with potential needs of agencies involved in the event. Key city officials are alerted to Level 1 status by text, which initiates a chain of communication among senior leadership, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The decision to put the EOC on Level 1 status was made at 8:18 p.m.; the EOC was closed at 11:30 p.m., once the storm had subsided. MetroSafe was staffed throughout the event with 18 dispatchers, 10 call takers and two supervisors. MetroSafe has a combined communications system that allows personnel to see county-wide impact of any event, including agencies that are not dispatched by the city.

Next Steps

Louisville Emergency Management Services has for months been sharing a NWS video that emphasizes, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” but Chief Hamilton and Director Meiman agreed that the number of high-water rescues from Sept. 8 indicate that additional public education is necessary.  “When you have residents knowingly drive into standing water, including people who take down barriers to do so, it is clear the dangers have not been adequately conveyed,” Chief Hamilton said.

Chief Hamilton said city responders also have met and will continue meeting to review potential changes to keep the community safe during these increasingly severe natural disasters. For example:

  • The city’s Public Works’ Road division is working with MSD to identify the potential standing water depth in each of 32 viaducts in our community and then paint visible marks on each, as an additional warning to keep people from driving through during a heavy rain event.
  • The city will use data from MSD, the National Weather Service, Louisville Fire and MetroSafe to project potential dangerous water conditions in the steepest and deepest viaducts and establish a mechanism to trigger visible warning lights to avoid entering flooded areas.

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority, and we work on a continuous improvement model,” Chief Hamilton said. “That means we will continue to review such incidents closely to see if there are additional steps we can take to further keep our community safe.”

Councilman Rick Blackwell invites residents to the next District 12 Dialogue on Tuesday, May 16th to learn more about the Metro Council’s Budget Review for the coming fiscal year. MSD also will make a presentation about its 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan.

“The Council is just beginning its review of the Mayor’s proposed 2017 -2018 Capital and Operating Budgets,” says Blackwell. “The budget review process is one of the most important responsibilities of the Metro Council and it also gives a thorough understanding of how all of the Metro agencies and departments work together.”

Representatives of MSD will also be on hand to give a presentation of their plan to repair and replace important infrastructure over the next two decades.

MSD’s 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan covers critical risks in six areas:

  1. Ohio River flood protection system
  2. Stormwater drainage and inland flooding
  3. Viaducts
  4. Crumbling sewer infrastructure
  5. Wastewater treatment facilities
  6. Consent decree and support systems

The next District 12 Dialogue will be held at 6:00 pm at the Southwest Government Center Courtroom, 7219 Dixie Highway.

There will also be representatives from LMPD and Codes and Regulations to help constituents address specific concerns or problems.

For more information about the May District 12 Dialogue, contact Councilman Blackwell’s office at 574-1112.

Yesterday, Mayor Greg Fischer joined Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, the Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC), the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and MKSK Studios to announce that a major piece of planning for Waterfront Park Phase IV is in place.

MSD has acquired 4.8 acres of land there as part of a tunnel basin project that is expected to begin construction in late summer 2017. Once completed, the bulk of the land will be turned over for the park, providing an important link with other parcels, creating a unified waterfront experience.

“Waterfront Park is Louisville’s front yard, our community living room. We’re enormously proud of it,” said the Mayor. “Projects like Waterfront Park Phase IV are critical because they strengthen the connection among our neighborhoods by giving people even more space to come together, take a walk, ride their bikes and enjoy our unique quality of life in Louisville.”

Phase IV will expand Waterfront Park west of 10th Street to provide a continuation of open space along the river and bring the prospect for new experiences and activities to the area. As part of the project, River Road will be extended west to Rowan Street, providing a vital connection between the existing park and Phase IV, downtown and the west.

The existing RiverWalk adds an additional pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly connection between the first three phases and Phase IV. The expansion will also refresh and update one of the early sections of the Louisville Loop.

“I am excited that today we are taking another important step in the westward expansion of Waterfront Park with the acquisition of all the 22-acres,” said Councilwoman Bryant Hamilton. “Louisville was founded here in the Portland neighborhood, and I’m glad that the residents of the community will soon have additional waterfront recreational access, as was originally planned back in the 1980s.”

In addition to announcing the land acquisition, MKSK unveiled new renderings of the amenities Phase IV will provide, centering on three components – Reveal, Play, Connect, where residents and visitors can experience the waterfront like never before.

The 22-acre site plan shows increased green space and interactive features that will connect Portland and downtown, becoming a catalyst for economic development, improved health and wellness for the city, as well as a regional attraction for visitors to downtown.

“The location of Phase IV offers both social and economic opportunities that few other sites in the city could afford,” said WDC VP Mike Kimmel. “This will be an exciting addition to Waterfront Park.”

The Waterfront Park master plan for Phase IV was approved by Metro Council in 2015, and the city allocated $950,000 in last year’s budget for planning and land acquisition. As with the first three phases of Waterfront Park, funding will be assembled from a variety of sources, including requests to government, corporations, individuals, and foundations. The team will work with the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation and the Congressional Delegation to help identify state and federal resources.

Waterfront Park has been a 30-plus-year project with planning beginning with creation of the Waterfront Development Corporation in 1986, extensive public meetings in the late ‘80s, and the adoption of the original Waterfront Master Plan in 1992. Completion of the first three phases of Waterfront Park, and plans for Phase IV, have sparked more than $1.3 billion in investment in the surrounding area and built a program of more than 150 special events per year with an annual park attendance of more than 2 million visitors.

As part of Louisville’s economic momentum and in anticipation of the new park extension, the city is already enjoying new investment in west Louisville, including Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Heine Brothers’ headquarters, Old 502 Winery, Over the 9, and other exciting projects in the Portland neighborhood.

Click here to view design renderings for Phase IV.

Public comments on the project are welcome, visit https://louisvillewaterfront.com/contact/

For more information on Waterfront Park, visit https://louisvillewaterfront.com/about-wdc/what-we-do/phaseiv/

Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith will host a series of three meetings in District 4 with the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) for discussion of MSD’s recently completed 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan.

“These meetings are designed to offer information to the public as to how MSD plans to address future needs in the areas of wastewater, stormwater and flood protection infrastructure,” says Sexton Smith. “And most importantly how the agency intends to pay for the improvements.”

Three meetings have been scheduled in the district for the month of April from 6:00pm to 8:00pm:

  • April 6th at Copper and Kings, 1121 E. Washington Street
  • April 19th at Central High School, 1130 W. Chestnut Street
  • April 24th at Central High School, 1130 W. Chestnut Street

At the encouragement of the Metro Council, MSD officials have been hosting public discussions throughout Metro Louisville to give the public more information about what is needed to maintain health and safety with regard to flooding issues and other infrastructure needs by hosting meetings to discuss proposed future projects and rate increases.

MSD’s 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan contains a breakdown of the critical risks in six areas:

1. Ohio River flood protection system;

2. Stormwater drainage and inland flooding;

3. Viaducts;

4. Crumbling sewer infrastructure;

5. Wastewater treatment facilities; and

6. Consent decree and support systems

The estimated cost solutions total $4.3 billion over the next 20 years, including almost $500 million to satisfy the existing federal Consent Decree to reduce sewer overflows. The full plan is online at: www.LouisvilleMSD.org/CriticalRepairPlan

“As many of us know, the Central Business District boarders the Ohio River. Butchertown and the Russell Neighborhood, like many other areas, are dealing with stormwater runoff and sewer concerns,” says Sexton Smith. “It is a way to find out what MSD has planned and express your opinion about how the community should approach these concerns.”

For more information about the three MSD Community Meetings, contact Councilwoman Sexton Smith’s office at 574-1104.

MSD asked to earmark one to two million dollars for plan over successive years

MSDSeveral members of the Louisville Metro Council are sponsoring a Resolution requesting the Metropolitan Sewer District to set aside additional funding in the coming years for an enhanced home buyout program. The plan calls for MSD to increase funding for such programs in future budgets so that they can make progress on a growing list of properties that have seen reoccurring flooding.

The sponsors of this ordinance are: Councilmembers: Angela Leet (R-7), Kelly Downard (R-16), Dan Johnson (D-21) and Madonna Flood (D-24).

“This Resolution is long overdue and it asks MSD to start thinking about the future and ways of assisting people who have found themselves the victims of increased flooding as we deal with erratic weather patterns,” says Councilman Dan Johnson (D-21).

The Resolution asks MSD, within 60 days, to prepare a plan to incorporate between one to two million dollars for a multiyear buyback program for homeowners in Jefferson County. The plan will include those people who are outside of the flood plain but whose property assessments have been affected by the flooding.

“It is time to prepare for the future instead of just responding to emergencies as they arise. I am hopeful that this show of support from the members of the Metro Council will help to move towards a long term solution to aiding those persons located within the flood plain and in need of relocation.” – Councilman Kelly Downard (R-16)

The Resolution points out that a small percentage of yearly rate increases by MSD along with the recent announcement of the One Water agreement with the Louisville Water Company would allow for creation of a buyback program that would be able to make substantial movement towards addressing the needs of the community.

“This is the long term solution that I have been hopeful to achieve since the beginning of this flood mitigation workgroup. It has always been my desire to find a permanent funding source to a problem that our community should have addressed long before the most recent flooding incident. This resolution encourages a way for families to seek immediate relief when they are impacted by flooding, and I am glad to have been part of the solution.” Councilwoman Angela Leet (R-7).

The Resolution will receive its first reading on Thursday night at the September 10th meeting of the Louisville Metro Council and is expected to be discussed at the Council’s Public Works Committee.

MSDA water main break on Terry Road near Greenwood Road is causing traffic problems in southwest Louisville.  MSD crews are on scene and are expected to be there for most of the day as repairs are made.  LMPD is currently blocking the roadway in the area.

The 10-inch main break was reported early Friday morning as part of Terry Road collapsed exposing water pipes and guardrail foundations.  The water service interruption is currently affecting nearly 30 customers including nearby businesses like McDonald’s and the Kroger grocery store.

Residents and employees working in the area are urged to choose a different route until the break is repaired and the road is reopened.  For the latest traffic updates, visit the Louisville Dispatch traffic page.

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