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Cumberland River-area water project faces delays after arrowheads found


Native American relics may cause delays in the construction of a water treatment facility for the Cumberland River area. An archeologist uncovered arrowheads and other relics during an inspection of the area, and the discovery will bear further investigation.

At the July meeting of the Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering told the board that an archeologist who had been commissioned to do a study about possible archeological damage from the plant had uncovered artifacts that indicate a possible Native American presence. Among the relics that were uncovered were arrowheads, waste flakes, and a nutting stone, along with fire altered rock and charcoal. A nutting stone is a stone used like an anvil to harvest nuts. The nuts would be placed on the stone and then struck with another stone used like a hammer.

The items found are relatively common and Bowman said they shouldn’t present a problem in certifying the site. They were found near a bridge that has been in place for around 15 years. The environmental plans and permits from the bridge have also been submitted to the Department of Highways. The board passed resolutions to apply for two loans from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, one to build the water treatment plant to serve the Cumberland River area and parts of Harlan County, and another for Phase IV of the Cumberland River Project to run water lines to the areas to be served in Letcher County.

At last month’s meeting, Bell Engineering announced that the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority will fund up to $2 million of the project and up to half the loan can be forgiven. The district has submitted a funding application to the Abandoned Mine Lands/Nexus fund as well. AML/Nexus is a project of Abandoned Mine Lands for projects that are similar in nature to ongoing AML projects. Encroachment permits have also been submitted to the Kentucky Department of Highways for review and approval.

In other business, water line work is complete on the Kentucky Department of Transportation bridge relocation project at Craft’s Colly. Invoices for the work have been submitted to the Department of Transportation for its approval. An electronic agreement form for the Bridge Relocation Project on Highway 931 has been forwarded to the district from the Kentucky Department of Highways. The next step is to submit the line relocation plans to the Kentucky Division of Water and proceed with construction.

Plans for the Deane Interconnect with Knott County lines have been submitted to the Kentucky Department of Water, and a Memorandum of Agreement with Abandoned Mine Lands, which funded the Deane lines, has been executed. Plans for chlorine analyzers and automatic flushers have also been submitted and the district is waiting on approval from the DOW to proceed with both projects.

Pressure monitoring on water lines in the Highway 1410 area is now complete, and a hydraulic model has been developed. Line breaks in that area appear to occur mostly from pressure spikes induced by pump cycle times, as pressure builds in the lines when the tanks fill.

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