Whitesburg KY

Water and sewer board will move ahead with plans for serving prison

The Letcher County Water and Sewer District is moving forward with plans to extend water and sewer lines to the federal prison site at Roxana.

Members of the water and sewer district’s board of directors were told at their April meeting that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has entered negotiations for the purchase of the property for the site, and representatives of the water and sewer district and Lexington-based Bell Engineering have spoken with the Kentucky Division of Water about the next step the district should take.

Since U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers announced last month that the prison had been given final approval, the district has established a point of contact through Rogers’s office and exchanged contact information with other stakeholders. For the immediate future, Bell Engineering will work with the Bureau of Prisons and the water and sewer district on setting up an onsite meeting and continue working with the Kentucky River Area Development District on securing funding for the project.

A “waste load allocation” for sewer purposes for the prison was presented to the Division of Water in February. The district should receive a response within the next three weeks.

In other business, the board learned that bad weather has hampered efforts to move forward with second phase of the Red Star, Ulvah, Hallie, and Turkey Creek water improvements project.

The board also learned that plans and specifications for the Cumberland River water project have been forwarded to Division of Water and are under review. No action can be taken until the district receives approval from the DOW.

Several inquiries have been made concerning the establishment of a water system “interconnect” with the City of Hazard in the Red Star area. Bell Engineering recommended examining the possibility of another interconnect near Gordon and is working on the water flow plans and the required scope of work to support both interconnects. The interconnects would allow the connected districts to support each other in the event that one loses its water source temporarily.

The district board also learned that the Pine Creek pumping station in Mayking is being affected by a problem caused by an unstable hillside. A site inspection of the “slope instability” is being conducted. The district has approached the state Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, the funding agency for the original project, about financing a project to stabilize the area. Estimates and plans will be forwarded to AML. Other funding sources are also being considered.

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