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Officials seek funds for new water project


With the archeologist’s study on the site for a water treatment plant in the Cumberland River now complete, the Letcher County Water and Sewer District is looking at funding sources to provide drinking water for the Cumberland River area in Letcher County and parts of the city of Cumberland in Harlan County.

The AML/Nexus, which allows Abandoned Mine Lands funds to be used for projects that closely associate with AML goals, is one potential source, and the Kentucky River Area Development District is looking at a possible Community Development Block Grant for the work.

Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering reported that the district is looking at possible water sources for the plant, including drawing water from the Scotia Mine which is now closed. Bowman added that the engineer for the City of Cumberland wants to look at some of the design parameters that will impact that city.

Bowman also reported that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had a progress meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning water lines for the Roxana area last week and will continue to have monthly meetings. Bowman said that the Corps of Engineers also has some funding left over for property acquisition, but it will be difficult to access.

While the prison was effectively killed during the Trump administration, the money for the prison was appropriated by Congress and is still available and being used for work on waterlines in the area.

A contractor working with the Kentucky Department of Transportation placing rails to reinforce KY 3406 and adjacent roads has drilled into a water line on Bottom Fork. The contractor has so far refused to pay to correct the matter, but Letcher County Attorney Jamie Hatton is negotiating with its attorney.

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