Whitesburg KY

Letcher, Wise officials to discuss water rates

During a short December meeting, the Letcher County Water and Sewer District’s Board of Directors heard from District Manager Mark Lewis, who said the overall cost of purchasing water from elsewhere in the region has gone down.

According to Lewis, the cost of buying water through the Knott County Interconnect has dropped so considerably since the City of Fleming-Neon’s recent trouble with its regular water source that the city no longer needs to purchase its water from Letcher County.

The board also learned that a bid for a second pipeline interconnect with the Knott County Water District has been approved by the state Division of Abandoned Mine Lands and has been forwarded to the Kentucky Department of Highways District 12 for approval for encroachment needed to install lines. Jones Construction LLC of Lackey submitted the low bid of $354,090, which was approved at the board’s November meeting.

The district purchases most of the water it uses to serve Letcher County customers from Knott County through the single interconnecting line that is now in use. Jones has submitted shop drawings to the KYDOH for review and a notice to proceed was issued. The second interconnecting pipeline will increase the flow of water into Letcher County from the treatment plant at Carr Creek Lake, and serve as a backup in case the original line is out of commission.

Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering also reported that plans and applications are being finalized for submission to the Kentucky Department of Water for a water source from Wise County, Virginia that will serve Letcher County residents in the Cumberland River area. This is based on connecting to the Wise County Public Service Authority’s water connection at the state line in Flat Gap. Bowman told the board that representatives of Bell Engineering have met with representatives of the Kentucky DOW to review the project and no problems were identified. Bell Engineering and the LCWSD have sent invitations to the Wise County PSA to discuss a purchase rate offer for the water and a meeting has been scheduled for January 12.

Phase II of the Red Star, Hallie, Ulvah, and Turkey Creek Water Project has been split into phases at the request of AML and a funding request has been submitted. Phase IIA will serve about 76 homes between the intersection of Kentucky Route 7 and Kentucky 1103, and Campbell Town Road. A meeting to discuss the possibility of funding for Phase II of the Bull Creek Water Project was held with AML in September, and based on feedback from that meeting, a funding request to serve approximately 40 homes was submitted. No word has been received on the availability of funds.

Applications to study the remainder of the Millstone area and the Gordon Highway 510 area have been submitted to AML for funding, as well as an application to determine if the Big Cowan Side Road/Kingscreek area is eligible.

Bell Engineering continues to seek funds for a interconnect with the Hazard Water District and the Loggy Hollow Project.

Plans for a project to supply water to the Carbon Glow road area, to be paid for by Enterprise Mining, are on hold until Enterprise’s financial condition is more clear. Enterprise is owned by Alpha Natural Resources of Bristol, Virginia, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

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