In an effort to speed up access to treated water for residents of the Cumberland River area, the Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District has voted to hire a Lexington engineering firm to do the work needed to make the prospect a reality.
The board voted to hire Bell Engineering of Lexington to replace the Middlesboro engineering firm of Vaughn and Melton. Bell Engineering has been working with the county water and sewer board since the special district was formed under former Letcher County Judge/ Executive Carroll Smith.
Bell was the top choice of a committee formed for the purpose of evaluating engineering firms and beat out two other Lexingtonheadquartered firms for the job, Nesbitt Engineering and Summit Engineering.
Bell is currently the board’s general engineering provider and oversees a number of water projects throughout the county. Summit currently oversees a project to extend sewer lines into the Craft’s Colly area and Nesbitt Engineering is the project engineer for the Payne Gap Water Project, which is nearing completion.
Bell Engineering will take over the Cumberland River Project from Vaughn and Melton, which worked with the District for a number of years but was terminated after years of struggling to find a water source for residents in the Cumberland River area.
It has been difficult to obtain a source of water and several plans to get it from the City of Cumberland or the Wise County, Va., Water District have fallen through. However, Fifth District U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers recently began to work toward a solution and the board expressed a desire to find a new engineering company to help the district move forward.
In other business, District Manager Mark Lewis reported that 878 radioread water meters have been installed out of 2,060 overall. The District will soon have all radio-read meters, which will allow District workers to drive by the meters and take readings that will be downloaded to the computers in the District offices. Lewis said this will save man-hours in the meter reading process.
Lewis also reported that District workers were able to locate and repair a signifi cant leak on a side road by using flow meters, and added that there is a leak on the Knott County side of the Knott-Letcher County Interconnect.
Bell Engineering representative Steve Caudill said the state Division of Abandoned Mine Lands has indicated it will fund another interconnect in its next funding cycle with the Knott County system, which draws water from Carr Creek Lake.
Bell Engineering’s Jamie Noe reported that the mainline segment of the Shelby Fork portion of the Deane Water Project is now in service and said the long awaited bore to Schuler Branch was completed after Bell Engineering received the permit from CSX.
Bids for Phase II of the Pine Creek, Pert Creek, Cram Creek Water Improvements Project were opened on June 10 and Ronnie Mullins and Sons of Elkhorn City submitted the low bid of $1,085,875. Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors submitted the low bid of $426,955 for the Bull Hole Water Storage Tank. Bell recommended that the low bids from both contractors be accepted and the board voted unanimously to approve.
Work is continuing on Phase 3 of the Deane Water Improvements Project. Construction began in December 2013 and waterline has been installed along KY 1469, Willis Branch, Stevens Fork, and KY 317, with a total of 21,864 linear feet installed. The booster pumping station has also been installed and contractor Ronnie Mullins and Sons is working with AEP to obtain electricity for the pumping station. Completion is anticipated sometime in July. Wielding Inc, contractor for the water storage tank, also anticipates its work will be finished in July.
Bids will be opened July 8 for the relocation of existing waterlines along Race Track Hollow Road near Isom. The relocation is necessary because of the construction of a new bridge.
Abandoned Mine Lands has notified the District that the area covered by Phase II of the Red Star, Ulvah, Hallie, and Turkey Creek Water Improvements Project is eligible for AML funding. The line portion of the project design is complete and tank design is nearing completion.
Bell Engineering is working with the District to prepare necessary plans and other materials to submit to the Kentucky Department of Water for the Kentucky 15 to Loggy Hollow Project, and will assist the District with bids when approval is received. Other projects either await funding decisions or are still seeking funding sources.
Lisa Daniels of Summit Engineering reported that environmental information on the Craft’s Colly Sewer Project has been submitted to the necessary agencies. A rate study has also started, and Summit representatives met with funding agencies to discuss an additional $400,000 in funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Dry Fork was chosen as a site for line extension after representatives of Summit Engineering met with KRADD to discuss possible sites and the preliminary engineering plans have been revised to include the Dry Fork Project.