Town Branch watershed

A watershed is an area of land where all of the rainwater that falls drains to the same place.

The Town Branch watershed covers 260 square miles in central and northwest Fayette County. The main tributaries to Town Branch are Wolf Run, which is a separate watershed contributing flow to the Town Branch watershed, and the Bracktown Branch and Bethel Road Tributary both of which are part of the Town Branch watershed.

As it leaves Fayette County, Town Branch flows into South Elkhorn Creek which eventually flows to the Kentucky River. Due to the underlying limestone and shale bedrock, the Town Branch watershed is located within a karst terrain. There are three known karst basins within the Town Branch Watershed: the Silver, Lindsay, and Mystery.

Although the Urban Service Area is highly developed, stormwater runoff is the most likely cause of pollution from E.coli and fecal coliform, nutrients and sediment from erosion and construction. 

Watershed resources

Watershed monitoring in Town Branch

Watershed monitoring is an important tool to improve Lexington's water quality. Lexington recently finished a multi-year project to take water quality tests at different stream locations to help determine what pollutants to focus on to improve water quality. Each watershed has its own health report card. 

Parameter Sources Summary of monitoring results
E. coli Sewage, animal waste, livestock manure Poor
Total Suspended Solids Upland or channel soil erosion; muddy water Very good
Temperature Runoff from excessively hot parking lots or roads; lack of shade typically provided by trees growing along creek banks Very good
Dissolved Oxygen Availability of oxygen for fish and other organisms to breathe Fair
pH The presence of too much acidity or too much alkalinity; neutral levels are needed for fish and other organisms Very good
Conductivity Dissolved solids, various salts, organic matter Very poor
Chlorine Water line break, swimming pool discharge Very poor
Detergents Sewage, graywater, outdoor washing of vehicles, floor mats, etc.  Very good
Ammonia-Nitrogen Sewage, animal waste, livestock manure Very good
Nitrate-Nitrogen Excess fertilizer / manure runoff; too much can promote algae growth Poor
Total Phosphorus Excess fertilizer / manure runoff; too much can promote algae growth Fair
Stream Habitat Places where fish and other organisms can live Poor
Aquatic Bugs / Critters Conditions that support fish and other aquatic life Poor


Town Branch projects


  1. Town Branch WWTP Equalization Tank
  2. Town Branch Pump Station & Force Main
  3. Lower Cane Run Force Main Tie-In
  4. UK Trunk Sewer Replacement A
  5. UK Trunk Sewer Replacement B (Newtown Pike Ext.)
  6. UK Trunk Sewer Replacement C
  7. UK Trunk Sewer Replacement D
  8. UK Trunk Sewer Replacement E
  9. Georgetown Road Trunk Sewer Replacement
  10. Midland Avenue Trunk Sewer Replacement