A question that every Louisville resident asks themselves at least once is, “Can I really take a dip in the Ohio without turning into a mutant/contracting tetanus/dying?” If you’ve got your shots and own a kevlar wetsuit, then the answer is probably “go for it.” However, The C-J’s James Bruggers would like to inform you about all of the raw shit that is currently hanging out in the river right now, which may influence your decision somewhat.
The spill into the river – the result of a mechanical failure on one of the main sewer lines leading to the plant – was among the largest during dry weather since MSD entered into an $850 million agreement in 2005 with state and federal regulators to upgrade its antiquated system, said Brian Bingham, a senior engineer with MSD. With rainfall, a spill would be diluted.
Work was completed about 10:15 p.m. after several hours of repairs by MSD crews, and the spilling stopped about 1:20 a.m., MSD said Thursday…
The incident began Wednesday during maintenance on the sewer line. A gate broke and took nearly more than 12 hours to fix, causing overflows into the Ohio River just upstream from the treatment plant in Western Louisville.
According to MSD, the sewage won’t find its way into our local drinking water (hooray), yet people should avoid any contact with the river until Saturday — which means if you’ve got any weekend golf plans at Shawnee Park, make them for Sunday. And of course, the sewage merely adds to the other, non-human shit that’s pumped into the Ohio courtesy of Rubbertown’s industrial chemical giants, but hey: We’re not sweating it either.
Oh, here’s some more stuff that we wish we didn’t know, from WFPL:
Schardein says raw sewage is frequently spilled in the Ohio during a rain event.
“When you multiply it in rain events, you’re up to around, on the average, around four billion to five billion gallons a year,” says Scharbein, “so it’s not anywhere near the volume that would happen during a wet weather event.”
But yesterday’s spill didn’t occur while it was raining.
“It’s when you have a dry weather overflow like we did yesterday that’s not caused by a rain event that it’s extraordinary and obviously EPA and the state will look at it an determine whether there’s any penalties or any fines,” says Schardien. “In my view, we were involved in a preventive maintenance program which I think would be taken into consideration.”