MSD maintains Louisville Metro's Ohio River Flood Protection System—keeping the river at bay and out of the city.
The system protects more than 200,000 people, 137,000 structures, and $34 billion in property throughout 110 square miles of Louisville Metro. It includes 26.1 miles of floodwall and earthen levee, 16 flood pumping stations, nearly 150 floodgates and 79 floodwall closures.
Where creeks and storm drains pass through the floodwall, gates can be closed to keep the river from flowing up the streams, and large pumps at the flood pumping stations lift the water from the creeks and pump it into the river. Additional gates and pumping stations keep the river from backing up through storm drains and pipes, pumping the stormwater into the river.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the system after the city's two highest floods of record in 1937 and 1945. MSD has been responsible for the Flood Protection System since 1987.
As a River City, Louisville has its fair share of floodplain and drainage issues. Flooding can occur from Ohio River flooding, flash flooding from interior streams, and flooding from overloaded storm systems. To learn more about MSD Floodplain Management click here.
Being a river city has advantages. But there are also challenges to protecting homes and businesses from Ohio River flooding. It takes vigilance to prevent catastrophic impacts. One of MSD’s key functions is to maintain the complex system of floodwalls and pump stations that keep the community safe and allow Louisville to prosper. Learn how MSD works to protect our community here.