Whenever there's a good rain, lots of bad stuff is washed into McConnell Springs.
What the nature area's staff notices most are the plastic bottles. But there also are the sediment and chemicals that come with urban runoff.
On Monday, the city announced a $524,000 storm-water project that will clean the water before it reaches the springs that give the city park its name. About 60 percent of the money will come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the rest from the city.
"The project ... is an example of how we're trying to address our storm water and sanitary sewage that have long polluted our local springs," Mayor Jim Newberry said at a news conference to announce the project.
Most of the water that bubbles up in the springs comes from as far as 2 miles away. The project will deal with water that flows in from nearby roads, neighborhoods and an industrial park.
Water will be channeled through a large cage device at a "pre-treatment basin" that will screen out larger debris. It will then pass through three ponds and finally a wetland.
Like the water from the springs, the storm runoff will go underground eventually, then resurface in Preston's Cave. From the cave, the water flows to Wolf Run, then Town Branch, then Elkhorn Creek and the Kentucky River.
A boardwalk will be built so visitors can watch the process. City officials say they want the project to become a demonstration area where students can take water samples and where people from business, industry and other local governments can learn about reducing pollution.
McConnell Springs is off Old Frankfort Pike near Forbes Road, west of downtown.