The Fleming-Neon water plant will soon be operating with two main pumps for the first time in several years.
By operating with two pumps, operators of the refurbished newly refurbished plant at McRoberts will be able to keep up maintenance on both pumps without having to shut the plant down. It will also reduce the strain on each unit.
Ken Reid, an engineer with Nesbitt Engineering, said is possible that both pumps will be operating when the grand opening ceremony for the remodeled plant is held, hopefully sometime in January.
Reid told the Fleming- Neon City Council at its December meeting Monday night that once contractors worked through a problem in setting the casing for the new pump, they were able to install it and the electricians will be here to wire it up this month.
Reid said that when the hole for the pump was drilled, the bit bypassed a mine rail possibly left over from the old Beth-Elkhorn Mine 25. Reid said the bit probably pushed the rail aside, but made it impossible to set the casing fully. So, the contractors welded a piece of steel on the bottom of the casing to act as a ram to push the rail out of the way and it worked. Reid said the casing was installed and the pump is set.
The pumps were one of many issues that were addressed by the council during a discussion involving the first phase of what is officially known as the Fleming-Neon Water Plant Rehabilitation Project. Reid said the city will soon seek funding for the second phase of the project, which will address distribution, including water line replacement.
Mayor Susie Polis announced that the grand opening for the plant will be held in January on a date to be announced later.
In a related matter, the city council also voted unanimously to allow water company employees to rent work uniforms and have the cost deducted from their pay.
Also, water department manager Chris Banks reported that the city experienced a 17 percent loss of treated water in November. Kentucky Rural Water estimates that most rural municipalities average around a 20 percent loss. Banks asked water customers to make certain their lines are in closed or insulated areas so they won’t freeze in the coming colder winter. He added that if people feel it is necessary to let their water run at night, they should run the thinnest stream possible, no more than pencil sized. Banks said that 400 houses running a tap all night can drain a water tank pretty fast and that can create a number of other problems. He said that due to heavy rains this year, the city’s water supply is in good shape and city workers have alternated from pumping from the main well to the pump in Tom Biggs. Both supplies have held steady.
In other business, newly elected Magistrates Maverick Cook ( Third District) and Benny McCall (Fifth District) attended the meeting. Both districts represent parts of the city on the Letcher County Fiscal Court.
Cook told Mayor Polis that while he would like to be able to spend as much time as is needed on every section of District Three, it is impossible. For that reason, he said, it is important for Polis and council members to keep him informed about the city’s needs.
McCall told the council he is looking forward to serving its needs as well and said that it is his intention to do the best job possible to serve the people of his district. He asked the council members to keep him informed about their needs as well, and said that in the hard economic times, it is important that the entire county and the eastern Kentucky region work together to try to address the needs of the people.
“We’re here to serve,” said McCall. Both men gave their cell phone numbers to the council members.
The council also announced that the city’s Christmas Parade will be held this Friday (December 15) at 5 p.m. Councilman James D. Collins said Santa Claus will participated in the parade and will visit with children and give out treat bags. Collins said that in the event of rain, Santa will be in City Hall.
The annual city employees’ Christmas dinner will be held December 18 in City Hall. The city will furnish turkey and council members will bring potluck dishes.