Most people never think about MSD on a daily basis. But anyone who has flushed a toilet or sent water down a drain has MSD wastewater treatment facilities to thank. MSD exists to protect public health and safety, and that includes making sure citizens don’t have to worry about the parts of the day most would rather forget.
Did you know?
The Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center began operation in 1958. That year, Eisenhower was in his second term as president, and Elvis was inducted into the Army. The original Morris Forman treatment center continues to serve Louisville.
Portions of the Louisville community that would be impacted by wastewater treatment plant failures
In order to protect public health and safety, MSD must treat wastewater from homes and businesses to remove pollutants, including harmful bacteria before it is discharged back into local waterways. Five Water Quality Treatment Centers (WQTCs), including the largest facility in Kentucky—the Morris Forman WQTC— treat wastewater for Jefferson County and Crestwood in Oldham County. Given the critical nature of the services these treatment facilities perform, interruption of operations at any one of them could result in contamination of our local waterways and potential impacts to public health if people come in contact with the waterway at the point of discharge or for many miles downstream.
In 2015, a lightning strike knocked out the high-voltage electrical system at Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center creating a total power outage. The facility was flooded, and operations halted for about eight hours while the MSD team repaired damaged equipment. More than 100 million gallons of untreated sewage had to be diverted into the Ohio River, creating a public health concern due to bacterial contamination in the river. Installation of a backup power supply to the plant had been planned before the power outage occurred, but limited funds in the MSD budget for investments caused it to be delayed.
Morris Forman treatment plant prior to 2015 event
Morris Forman treatment plant during 2015 event
What is needed?
MSD estimates that $849 million is required to upgrade and expand the five water quality treatment centers to meet the immediate needs of customers and support Louisville’s continued growth and prosperity.
These public health and safety risks impact the entire Louisville community. Click here to view a “Story Map” that uses photos and maps to connect the risks geographically.
By the Numbers:
gallons per day treated at Morris Forman Treatment Plant
gallons would fill Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Instead of filling Papa John's Cardinal Stadium with 55,000 fans, you could fill it with how much wastewater just one of our treatment centers processes every day.