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State agency agrees to pay $2 million on water project

Cumberland’s water lines will connect with Partridge, Eolia

Good news for residents of the Cumberland River area comes in the form of a letter from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, extending an invitation to fund the Cumberland River Water Project.

The district and Bell Engineering received a copy of the letter last week. At the district’s first live in-person meeting since the COVID-19, restrictions went into place. Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering told the Board of Directors that the City of Cumberland has issued a request for qualifications for engineering services for its portion of the work.

The selection hasn’t been announced, but Bowman said Bell looks forward to working with the company that is selected. KIA will fund up to $2 million of the project and up to half the loan can be forgiven. The district will apply for funding from the AML/Nexus fund as well. AML/Nexus is a project of Abandoned Mine Lands for projects that are similar in nature to ongoing AML projects.

Plans are being forwarded to the Kentucky Department of Water for water line extensions in the Roxana area, to accommodate residents who would have initially been served if a federal prison was located there. The Department of Water, along with Abandoned Mine Lands and the Office of Surface Mining, will conduct a review of the project under the National Environmental Policy Act regulations. Once the review is complete, and all encroachment and CSX crossing permits have been obtained, the project can be let for bids.

Two water line relocation projects that are related to Kentucky Department of Transportation Bridge Relocation Projects were discussed at the meeting. The district’s line relocation portion of the Craft’s Colly Bridge project is now complete, and project contractor Greg Hale LLC has submitted his invoice. The invoice was submitted to bridge contractor Bizzack Engineering. An Opinion of Probable Cost for the relocation of the line on the bridge at Highway 931 has been forwarded to the Kentucky DOT, which requested that the work be done in a lump sum cost. It is recommended that the district obtain an opinion from its auditor before agreeing to the lump sum amount.

In a related matter, auditor Chris Gooch of Hazard has completed the fieldwork for the coming audit, which is nearly complete. Abandoned Mine Lands has announced that it will fund the Deane Interconnect Project with the Knott County Water District, including chlorine analyzers and automatic flushers. Once the approval is complete, a request to AML to waive National Environmental Policy Act requirements will be submitted.

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