We’ve been getting ready for Derby for weeks

The Kentucky Derby is a community-wide celebration. Getting ready for it is a company-wide endeavor at Louisville Water.

From checking meter lids to making sure scientists are available to test water in case of an emergency, employees throughout the company take on a range of tasks to ensure Louisvillians and our thousands of visitors stay safe and have uninterrupted access to our high-quality water.

Here are just a few of the steps Louisville Water takes to prepare for Thurby, the Oaks, the Derby, and Kentucky Derby Festival events:

  • Inspect streets around Churchill Downs and event areas for loose or missing meter lids and manhole covers
  • Inspect and service fire hydrants in the areas
  • Review security guard deployment to assure adequate coverage during downtown events
  • Meet on site with the Churchill Downs facility manager and inspect backflow prevention devices (These devices keep unsafe water from reversing flow and entering a clean water supply.)
  • Verify all valves are fully open in the Churchill Downs area
  • Install pressure recorders at various sites in the area
  • Identify and provide a map of key hydrants and services around Churchill Downs to the Louisville Metro Police Department
  • Identify Louisville Water personnel available for emergency response and prepare a list of home and cell numbers
  • Schedule standby Louisville Water crews in case an immediate response to a problem arises
  • Review all emergency response procedures

Louisville Water also sets up 10 water stations for the Kentucky Derby Festival mini/Marathon. About a week before the race, crews inspect the route to determine whether any Louisville Water maintenance or repair work is taking place. If so, they ensure the work is completed before the event, roads are open, and all meter lids in the roadways are secure. The week of the event, water samples are taken at the site of the water stations to ensure outstanding quality.

Last Saturday, crew members started setting up the water stations around 4 a.m. to ensure they were ready well before the 7 a.m. race start. Many other Louisville Water employees and their family members volunteered to hand out water at one of the stations.

Louisville Water also sets up water stops for the Pegasus Parade and the Tour de Lou.

According to Distribution Planning & Administration Supervisor Jamie Long, who has maintained a checklist to track all of the company’s Derby preparations, at least fourteen Louisville Water departments are involved in the effort.