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Flow Augmentation of Beargrass Creek

Louisville Water Company

Beargrass Creek has been a significant part of the Louisville community since the city was founded in the early 1800s. Originally, the creek provided irrigation, flood control, as well as scenic vistas. During the growth of Louisville, however, this natural resource was impeded as inflow was restricted and the drainage system was used for trash disposal and sewer discharge. Recently, the City of Louisville has undertaken a large effort to clean up Beargrass Creek and restore much of its original luster. This has been accomplished through controlling the un-permitted dumping, installing underground sewer systems and reducing the combined sewer outflows. While these efforts have had substantial positive impacts, they have not addressed the issue of the reduced flow due to the general urbanization of the area. The relatively small amount of flow through Beargrass Creek during the summer and winter months allows water to stagnate which leads to odor problems, insect breeding grounds, fish kills and a general unaesthetic appearance of the creek.


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To supplement the on-going efforts to revitalize Beargrass Creek, the Center for Infrastructure Research is working to determine if stream augmentation would benefit the region. Stream augmentation is a process by which supplemental water is pumped to the headwater of a stream and allowed to gravity flow through the system. The volume of flow is regulated such that a minimum flow is maintained in dry weather, but would not contribute to the flow during periods of flooding.


Stream augmentation of Beargrass Creek would be a significant benefit to the Louisville community as it would further enhance the revitalization efforts underway. The augmentation would improve the general aesthetics of the area as well as reduce potential health hazards and odors during low flow.



      Beargrass Creek_2

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