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  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Like many sewer districts, the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) was faced with a consent decree requiring a reduction in Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). SSOs can cause environmental and public health hazards, such as untreated wastewater discharged into streams, water in basements, flooded roadways, and poor water quality.
In 2014, MSD began operating a large-scale basin system, designed by B&N, that provides an economical and successful method for mitigating SSOs. With a capacity of 104 million gallons, it is MSD’s biggest basin system and one of the largest in the country.

Three Basins, One Big Solution

Comprised of three separate storage basins, the Buechel Basin Wastewater Storage Facility sequentially handles sewage with a straightforward operation of wet weather storage and return. When excess stormwater overwhelms the sanitary sewer, the overflow is diverted to the basins where it is held until a storm event subsides. Next, the basins are gradually emptied back into the sewer and the water is treated at Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant before discharging to the Ohio River.

  • Basin 1 has a capacity of five million gallons and was designed to handle a six-month storm event.
  • Basin 2 can hold 13 million gallons and, when combined with Basin 1, contains overflows from a two-year storm.
  • Basin 3 has a storage capacity of 86 million gallons. The three basins together can contain a 10-year storm.

With the Buechel Basin system, untreated contaminants from SSOs are kept out of local creeks and streams – the contaminants are removed from overflow points and diverted to the basins. This is beneficial to the environment and the health, safety and welfare of the community.

B&N was the lead design firm for this $25 million project and provided:

  • Design
  • Surveying
  • Environmental permitting
  • Geotechnical and site/civil engineering
  • Process, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering
  • Architectural design of the screening building and electrical building

In addition to the basins, design features include pumping systems, mechanical screening, odor control, standby power and pipeline.

Going Green for Storage

B&N’s design for the Buechel Basin system utilizes a large depressed grass area, where sewage is directed and then seeps into the surface. From there, the sewage is pumped out and treated. Utilizing this type of sewage holding area instead of a traditional tank promoted green infrastructure practices and allowed for a more natural design.

More Storage at a Lower Cost

The Buechel Basin system applies proven technology on a massive scale and is far more cost effective than other wastewater storage alternatives. Compared to building large pipes for storing overflow, the facility can hold a substantially larger volume at a fraction of the price per gallon of water stored.