Sanitary sewer system and treatment plants

A vast network of pipes and pumps located throughout Lexington collects untreated sewage from homes and businesses and transports it for treatment at one of our wastewater treatment plants.

Lexington’s sanitary sewer system includes 81 pump stations and over 1,400 miles of sewer pipe, along with two new wet weather storage tanks. The wet weather storage tanks provide off-line storage of higher than normal sewage flows that are typically associated with heavy rain events, until the system can transport or treat that sewage at one of the treatment plants. Pump stations are necessary to move sewage from a gravity system to a force main and eventually to one of the city’s two treatment plants. Lexington is unusual in its topography in that water flows away from Lexington in almost all directions. This makes it difficult to take advantage of the flow of gravity and results in the necessity of more pump stations than other cities our size.

Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant

Located inside New Circle Road just off of Old Frankfort Pike, the plant along Town Branch Creek can treat up to 11 billion gallons of wastewater annually.

The plant, which opened in 1919, was one of the first sewage treatment plants in this part of the United States. The facility has been upgraded and expanded several times through the years. Additional upgrades are planned through 2026 as a part of Lexington’s Consent Decree compliance measures.

Town Branch is designed to treat wastewater generated from approximately 60 percent of the city. The plant is designed for a flow of 30 million gallons daily but can treat a maximum daily flow of 64 million gallons.

West Hickman Wastewater Treatment Plant

The West Hickman Wastewater Treatment Plant began operating in 1972 on a 269-acre site located south of Fayette County.

As Lexington’s population increased, especially in Fayette County’s south end, so did the need for additional wastewater treatment. In the early 1980s, the plant was expanded to increase its capacity threefold, and ten years later, Lexington completed another expansion of the plant along West Hickman Creek, which increased its capacity to more than 22 million gallons a day.

The plant was upgraded and expanded again in 2001, to handle 33.8 million gallons daily with a peak capacity of 64 million gallons per day.  Additional upgrades are being implemented at this plant as a part of Lexington’s Consent Decree obligations.