Four inches of flood damage, an ounce of prevention

By on June 12, 2012

By Rae Hodge– 

After May 29 flooding caused substantial damage to the campus Chemistry building’s basement and flooring, University of Louisville spokesman Mark Hebert estimated that the cost of repairs and man hours could be up to $175,000.

Damages from May’s four inches of rain may cost less than the $20 million worth of damages that occurred during the 2009 flood of the Belknap campus, but U of L is prepared to go the extra mile in preventing damages from another deluge.

“We’ve been working with MSD since 2009 on ways to improve water drainage,” said Hebert. Since 2009, U of L has invested $1.5 million in a variety of systems to stem the tide. Methods include draining water off rooftops and into the ground instead of into the old sewer system, while targeting build up areas where water seeped in in 2009 such as the Fairfax and Business buildings.

Hebert testified to the challenges in preventing area flooding, saying that, “The area around Brook and Warnock is prone to flooding when there’s a lot of rain in a short period of time. The antiquated sewer system isn’t big enough to handle the water from UofL, the Fairgrounds, PJCS [Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium], the airport and all of the areas around us where there’s a lot of blacktop and all the water goes straight into the sewers.”

“We are still learning better ways to manage rain water on campus,” said Hebert, “and it continues to be a priority.”

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