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Plans for prison water system still moving forward

Water plans move ahead

Whether a new federal prison will be built at Roxana remains a question, but efforts to build a water and sewer system to serve the facility, as well as the surrounding community, are still moving forward.

At the November meeting of the Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering reported that an Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) invoicing plan has been revised and a draw request was filed by the district to bring all invoicing for payments current.

AML is also considering amending current plans for two chlorine booster stations. A permit for a railroad crossing has been completed and is ready for submission. Bowman said that the remainder of other district projects awaiting AML funding will have to stay on hold.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons withdrew its plan to place a prison at Roxana earlier this year to settle a lawsuit by prisoners, a prison abolition group and an environmental group.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture Performance Partnership Grant (PPG) for an alternative source of water for the county is now complete and has been submitted to the national office. Letcher County is the first applicant from Kentucky. The next step is to begin sampling potential sources of supply. The USDA’s Kentucky office has indicated that the response time will be short, but there are no U.S. Geological Survey monitoring stations in the area, so Bell Engineering is working on an alternative method of monitoring water flow.

Bowman said McCoy McCoy Lab of Pikeville began sampling sources on November 5 and will continue on a monthly basis.

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