Learn More about Water
Below is more information about all the topics in the Water section of the survey. This information and links to resources can help you conserve water and keep local waterways clean. If you choose to make conserve water and change other habits, come back and update your survey.
All the questions in the water section of the survey have to do with conserving water and keeping our local waterways clean. The Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) Project WIN website explains the utility’s work to respond to the Federal Consent Decree to reduce untreated sewer overflows and improve water quality. There are many resources on the website to educate individuals about how we can help improve local water quality. Most of District 9 drains into the combined sewer system. When we have large storms there is the potential for a combined sewer overflow – when the capacity of our system is surpassed and the excess combined water (rainwater and our waste water) overflow into Beargrass Creek. Learn more below.
Disconnecting your downspouts helps keep water out of Louisville’s combined sewer system by sending more rain water into yards, rain barrels, and rain gardens. This helps improve water quality by lessening overflows in rain events. Find tips for disconnecting your downspout on the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) website. Find instructions for disconnecting and redirecting your downspouts.
Rain barrels collect rain water from your downspout that you can later use to water your lawn or garden. This reduces the use of potable water for lawn needs while keeping some runoff out of the combined sewer system. Learn about rain barrels from MSD, including a list of where to purchase them in Louisville. Watch 15Thousand Farmers’ video about how to install a rain barrel. To maximize the amount of water your rain barrel is keeping out of the combined sewer system, it is important to empty it after every rain event that fills it.
Rain gardens infiltrate rainwater into the ground before it reaches the sewer system. This helps filter pollutants from storm water and lessens sewer overflows. In addition, the gardens, which often use native plants, help sustain biodiversity. Learn more about rain gardens from MSD and download their guide for building your own rain garden.
MSD Commercial Storm Water Credits
MSD offers incentives and savings for commercial, institutional, and industrial users that install green infrastructure to keep water out of the sewer system. Examples of green infrastructure include green roofs, cisterns, rain gardens, and pervious pavement. Learn more about the program.
Sump Pump Disconnection
Disconnecting your sump pump from the sewer helps reduce the burden on the sewer system and decrease the sewer overflows. MSD offers a voluntary program to help residents disconnect sump pumps from the sewer system. Learn more.
MSD offers a voluntary and free program to help customers who have had a sewer backup in their basement or who live in an area with a history of such backups. Learn more.
Dishwashers, Washing Machines, and Rain Events
Water used during rain events contributes to sewer overflows. We can help with this by not using our washing machines and dishwashers while it’s raining, and if possible, waiting for 24 hours after the rain event to start the next load. Learn more. Sign up to receive MSD’s Project WIN alerts to receive overflow alerts.
Picking up your pet’s waste, even in your backyard, helps improve water quality by keeping bacteria and parasites out of the local waterways. Learn more from MSD.
Proper Drain Usage
Pouring fats, grease, oil, paint, and other items down the drain clogs pipes and can cause sewer backups in your basement. Learn more from MSD. Recycle waste cooking oil through the Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative, or let it congeal and throw it away. Dispose of paint through proper household hazardous waste sites.
Washing your car in your yard or at a car wash, instead of in the street, helps keep water out of the combined sewer system and lessens the amount of pollutants that reach local waterways. Learn more.
Low Flow Products
Under federal mandates, showerheads produced after 1992 must use 2.5 gallons of water per minute or less. Before 1992, showerheads used an average of 5.5 gallons per minute. If you are not sure if you have a low flow showerhead, find a way to test this. In purchasing new showerheads, look for the EPA WaterSense Logo, which is given to shower heads that use no more than 2 gallons of water per minute. If you have a WaterSense labeled showerhead and take a 5 minute shower each day, you can save 17.5 gallons a day as compared to using an older shower head.
In the 1990s, the federal government mandated that new toilets could not use more than 1.6 gallons per flush. According to H2ouse.org, toilets made in the 1980s used at least 3.5 gallons per flush, and older toilets used anywhere from 5 to 8 gallons per flush. Replacing an older toilet with a low flow model, especially one with a WaterSense logo, can make a huge difference.
Check Sinks and Toilets for Leaks
A faucet that drips once per minute will waste 34 gallons of water in a year. If your faucet has a leak, find instructions to fix it. Make your faucets more water efficient by installing aerators, which reduce the flow of water.
To test your toilet for leaks, put a few drops of food color in the tank. If color seeps into your toilet bowl, you have a leak. Find tips for fixing leaks.