Bids will be advertised for Phase III of the Thornton Water Project in the November 2 issue of The Mountain Eagle — a step that will bring residents from Gazelle Drive to the neighboring community of Sergent nearer to having access to treated water.
Bell Engineering Jamie Noe asked for and received permission to advertise for construction bids at the October meeting of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District’s Board of Directors. The board and Bell had originally hoped to complete the work through by using a “change order” to extend Phase II of the project and finance the cost with coal severance tax funds. However, the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority said the extension was a significant modification of the original plan and must be rebid.
Noe said Phase III construction will extend water lines from Gazelle Drive/Mississippi Drive to Sergent Drive. The lines will go around Sergent Loop and all the way up Sergent Drive.
Noe also told the board that Department of Abandoned Mine Lands believes the water and sewer district should be able to advertise for bids on construction the Deane Water Project by November 14. The board voted to approve Noe’s request to advertise as soon as permission is obtained from AML.
Board Chairman Phillip “Pee Wee” Back said a meeting was held to discuss the Deane project at the Colson Community Center on October 12 and that not a single seat was empty. Back said the meeting was very positive and a number of residents signed up for water service. Kim Padgett of the Rural Community Assistance Project told the board that 47 user agreements were signed at the Colson meeting.
Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward attended the meeting and asked Bell Engineering to request that AML examine the area from Deane along Route 7 to the Knott County line and see if it also falls under the agency’s guidelines for funding.
The water and sewer district’s board of directors also learned that water line layout is complete for the Pine Creek/Pert Creek/ Cram Creek Water Project and that bids for that work will be advertised as soon as the Kentucky Division of Water completes its review.
The Red Star/ Ulvah/ Hallie Water Project is near completion and project contractor Cumberland Pipeline has advised Bell Engineering it has retained the services of a leak detection company to find any leaks in the new water lines. The contractors are now waiting for CSX to bore under railroad tracks in two locations so that pipeline can be laid. Noe said CSX has rescheduled the bores for the week of November 7. She added that the intent is to put each segment of water line in operation as soon as it has passed testing and been disinfected.
Bell Engineering is also preparing a contract subject to the board’s approval that will allow for Global Positioning Satellite location of all fire hydrants and valves within the district’s water distribution system.
Noe also reported there are no changes in the Millstone Water Project and said that while the project water line layout is complete, coordination of a tank site location is ongoing with Nesbitt Engineering and the project is not completely funded. When a suitable tank site is determined, the project will be submitted to the Kentucky Division of Water for its approval.
Water line extensions in Bull Creek, Elk Creek, and Carcassonne will be done as Phase II of the Pert Creek/Pine Creek/Cram Creek project, and Noe said it will probably be July 2012 before funding will be released from AML. She added that any funds left over from the Pert Creek/Pine Creek/Cram Creek work may be applied to the Bull Creek/Elk Creek/Carcassonne project.
District Four Magistrate Keith Adams attended the meeting and said that separate work being paid for by James River Coal to extend lines to homeowners whose wells were impacted by mining in the Carcassonne area is continuing, but said there is confusion about the scope of the work. Adams said he has spoken to the contractor, who told him a pump station was being located where Adams said a water tank had been planned. Back said he will discuss the matter with the City of Vicco Water District, which will supply water to the homes in question.
Kentucky River Area Development District representative Benny Hamilton, who works with the district on grants and loans, told the board there are funds left over from several completed projects that can be used for other work within the district.
Hamilton said $500,000 is left from the now-defunct Blackey Wastewater Plant project from a line item in House Bill 380. The project was never accomplished because of lack of funding, and Hamilton said the money can only be recouped if state legislators will vote to have it re-appropriated to the district. Otherwise, it will be reabsorbed by the state. Hamilton added that about $1.2 million is available through leftover funding from HB1 and said the district should be able to get that as well. The board voted unanimously to allow Hamilton to submit a pre-application for a $500,000 grant to the Appalachian Regional Commission to be used for further line extensions along Highway 160.
Superintendent Mark Lewis reported that district employee Wesley Caudill has submitted his resignation. Lewis asked that Josh Ferris, who is currently working part time, be promoted to full time and asked that he be allowed to hire another part-time worker to replace Ferris. The board approved unanimously.
Lewis also suggested hiring a local contractor to extend water lines to Blacksmith Drive on Highway 2036 near Letcher. He said the total cost would be about $6,200 and that the district has $5,000 already that can be applied to the work. He said the cost of tap-on fees for the five prospective customers would cover the remainder. Lewis said most of the area is already served from lines extended during the Blackey Water Project. Kim Padgett of the Kentucky Rural Community Assistance Program said the original Blackey project ran out of money before it could get lines into Blacksmith.
Board member Billy Stamper said he would like to see everyone get water, but said the board should use the extra $5,000 to make a down payment on billing software. Padgett replied that there are funds left over from the Smoot Creek Project that would pay the entire cost of the software. KRADD’s Hamilton said the software costs less than $20,000 and the amount left over from the Smoot Creek work is about $24,000. He said the board just needs to apply for the money to get it. The board voted four to one, with Stamper voting no, to use the Smoot Creek money for the software and use the $5,000 to extend lines to Blacksmith.
Lewis also told the board the City of Cumberland has a plan to rehabilitate the water line running to the Letcher County line that will supply water to Letcher County residents in the Cumberland River area. He said everything should be in place by spring. In response to a question from Judge Ward, Lewis said the district should be able to begin construction on the connector line at that time as well.