Flood Levee Protection System

SD1 operates and maintains 15 flood pump stations along the banks of the Ohio and Licking Rivers. These stations were mostly built in the 1950s in Newport and Covington by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in response to a massive flood in 1937, during which the Ohio River reached nearly 80 feet and caused devastating flooding in nearby communities. Two additional stations were built in Dayton in the 1980s.

When the Stations Operate

These stations operate when the Ohio and Licking Rivers are at elevated levels. To prevent elevated river water from flowing in the reverse direction up pipe outfalls and creating surface flooding, the outfall pipes are closed during elevated river conditions using a series of gates.

The flood stations are then used to pump water from the dry side of the earthen levees or flood walls to the wet side.

The stations are brought online based on the level of the Ohio River. Operation of the stations begins when the river level reaches 44 feet, with the final station brought online when the river reaches 64.1 feet. For reference, the typical level of the Ohio River is about 25.1 feet.

Covington, Newport and Dayton are responsible for the operation and maintenance of other flood protection infrastructure components, including levees, floodwalls and roadway closures.
Flood Pump Station Flood Station Operation
River Levels (Feet)
4th Street Station 44.00 Newport
19th Street Station 45.50 Covington
Willow Run Station 45.90 Covington
Main Street Dayton Station 47.00 Dayton
Washington Street Station 48.00 Newport
Columbia Street Station 49.00 Newport
McKinney Street Station 49.20 Dayton
Eastern Avenue Station 49.40 Covington
Patton Street Station 51.00 Covington
Russell Street Station 51.30 Covington
Main Street Covington Station 52.00 Covington
8th Street Station 54.30 Covington
Pleasant Street Station 55.60 Covington
Court Street Station 55.70 Covington
Kennedy Street Station 64.10 Covington

Joint Responsibility

SD1 has responsibility for primary oversight and management of the flood pump stations, piping and gate operations. SD1 monitors flood forecasts and coordinates with cities to put the stations into service when necessary. 

The USACE regularly inspects levees within its Levee Safety Program to monitor their overall condition, identify deficiencies, verify that needed maintenance is taking place, determine eligibility for federal rehabilitation assistance and provide information about the levees on which the public relies. The agency also conducts routine and periodic inspections.

The cities of Covington, Newport and Dayton are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Levee Flood Protection System, with the exception of the operation and maintenance of SD1-owned pipes, pump stations and gate structures associated with the flood protection system. The cities or local sponsors remain the municipal corporation with the ultimate responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the flood protection system, which includes earthen levees, concrete flood walls and movable closures and service openings.