Generator project to begin at Crescent Hill plant

Louisville Water is starting work on the standby generator project that was proposed over two years ago. The Crescent Hill Water Treatment plant has two electrical feeds for the operation of the plant and pumping station but needs a standby generator in case of an emergency when the plant loses electrical power. The Crescent Hill plant handles the majority of Louisville Water’s daily production of millions of gallons of drinking water to nearly one million customers. Louisville Water added standby generators at its smaller plant, the B.E. Payne Water Treatment Plant, in 2005.

There is a critical need for back-up power at the Crescent Hill plant. If both of the current electrical feeds were lost in an emergency (such as a storm), Louisville Water would need to rely on a more than 50-year-old LG&E gas turbine generator to produce, pump and deliver drinking water while the electrical feeds were repaired. This gas turbine is not located at the Crescent Hill property and if used, power would be routed through overhead lines. LG&E has indicated future analysis may result in the decommissioning of the gas turbine, due to its age, so Louisville Water needs to plan for an alternative standby power in the future.

The standby generator project includes a two-story building in the northwest corner of Louisville Water’s property near Frankfort and Stiltz Avenues. The standby generators will be located inside the building, which will be brick and will resemble the historic buildings on the property.

The northwest corner provides a good location for the building because it doesn’t interfere with large water mains and other underground lines, while being near the plant’s current electrical feeds and a nearby substation. The standby generator building will extend into the current grassy area and approximately two-thirds of the current green space will remain, along with the other amenities such as the fountain, decorative lighting, and landscaping. To accommodate deliveries of diesel fuel, Louisville Water will minimally widen the current entrance to the facility at 3004 Frankfort Avenue and will add a gate-controlled exit only from the plant onto Frankfort Avenue at the Hillcrest traffic light. Diesel fuel will be stored in double-wall containment above-ground tanks. Louisville Water will top off the fuel every couple of years or sooner if the generators are used for an emergency.

The noise produced by the generators is approximately 70 decibels — similar to an air conditioning unit or city traffic.

Louisville Water will only need to run the generators once a month for about an hour to make sure they are in good working order. Otherwise the standby generators would only be operated for as long as necessary in an emergency when the plant loses power.

It will cost approximately $10 million to construct the building and make the road improvements. This project is part of Louisville Water’s overall emergency preparedness plan to minimize disruption in service to customers, should an event occur.