The consent decree is a legal agreement between the city, state and federal government to fix problems with Lexington's stormwater and sanitary sewer systems within the next 11-13 years.
Over the years, Lexington had failed to properly maintain both the sanitary and storm water sewer systems. Age, changing regulations and equipment failures related to deferred maintenance created an assortment of operational problems, but the end result of those problems has been that during significant rainfall, we have been discharging sewage into our streams in violation of the Clean Water Act. We have already begun process of improving our sewer systems and have seen a reduction in sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). One of our most significant achievements so far is the new South Elkhorn pump station and force main, the construction of which eliminated Lexington's most severe SSO site.
In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Lexington for violations of the Clean Water Act. The consent decree agreement, which was finalized in January, 2011, requires the study, design and implementation of numerous construction projects to repair sewer pipes and to improve our stormwater system. The agreement also requires Lexington to make operational and managerial changes to prevent future problems.
Where can I find out more?
Visit the links to the right to find out more about specific stormwater and sanitary sewer programs. You can also view as the reports we submit to the EPA to document our progress.
Remedial Measures Plans have been developed for each of Lexington's seven urban watersheds and submitted to the EPA for approval. By using information collected from the Sanitary Sewer Assessments and evaluating our needs as a city, the Remedial Measures Plans will become a blueprint for fixing Lexington's sanitary sewer system. Click here to enter your address and find out if work is currently underway in your watershed.
A similar blueprint will be developed to fix Lexington's stormwater system through a Watershed Master Planning Process. While the details for this process have not yet been finalized, you can learn more about the stormwater program here.