2017-07-26 / News

County, KRADD seek money to bring water lines from Cumberland


The long wait for treated water on the Cumberland River side of Pine Mountain has gotten a bit closer an end.

At the July meeting of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, the Board of Directors gave Angela Smith-Hall of the Kentucky River Area Development District authorization to seek funding to extend lines from the City of Cumberland to serve some of the Letcher County residents in the Cumberland River area.

During the Engineering Report, Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering informed the board that the City of Cumberland does have the capacity to serve the area. Smith-Hall asked the board if it would rather submit a grant application for extending the lines from Cumberland, or go ahead with another plan to build a water treatment plant to serve the entire Cumberland River area. Bowman said it would take about $1.2 million to extend the lines, which would be significantly less than building a $4 million water treatment plant, and it will get water to the people sooner. Smith- Hall said the plant had not yet met the standards for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), but while the $1.2 million loan will be easier to get, it has not been approved yet.

Kim Padgett of the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) told the board that a Rural Development loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be about 70 percent loan and 30 percent grant. Smith-Hall added that the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority has a “Pot B” for funds left over from completed projects that may be used for funding as well.

The decision to move to the City of Cumberland as a water source was the result of a meeting held at the KRADD office, attended by board members and district staff, representatives of U.S. Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers and U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Bell Engineering staff, Judge/Executive Jim Ward, and KRADD and RCAP personnel. At the meeting, they learned that pressure testing on lines and hydrants in Cumberland had shown the necessary pressure to provide the water. Smith-Hall said that she needed a decision on which direction to pursue in order to meet the August 1 deadline for filing a CDBG application.

In other business, District Manager Mark Lewis reported that he has followed up with the Public Service Commission to address a couple of deficiencies from its recent inspection that involved chlorine gathering in some areas where there isn’t enough movement of water to flush it out. Lewis said he will work with Bell Engineering to develop a corrective action plan to address the issue and added that the amount is not dangerous, but it does register in the testing and should be fixed. He also said district workers are looking for a significant leak in the Payne Gap area, but the line is in a place that does not show surface water from leaks. A 12-inch line near the Knott County Interconnect also split over its entire length. Lewis said that the line has been replaced, but added that the water loss will be reflected on next month’s water purchase bill from Knott County.

Abandoned Mine Lands is reviewing plans to determine how much funding will be available this year for Phase II of the Red Star, Ulvah, Hallie & Turkey Creek Water Improvements Project. Once the funding is determined, the project will be split into phases. Construction is complete on Phase II of the Bull Creek project and a final inspection was scheduled for Monday, July 21. Representatives of AML and the Office of Surface Mining are expected to be present. AML is still studying the Millstone Project, Phase II of Gordon 510, and the Kingscreek water projects.

Bell Engineering staffers will install pressure recorders this week so the hydraulic modeling can be finalized to supply water for the proposed prison at Roxana. The district continues to have open communications with the Bureau of Prisons, and Bell is currently working on preliminary engineering reports for the project. A revised Corrective Action Plan with new completion dates for the Millstone Sewer Project is being drafted for submission to the Kentucky Department of Water.

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