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Water board saves cash with radio-read meters



The Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District learned that the district has seen a considerable savings in the amount of man-hours it takes to read all the water meters in the entire district since switching to a radio-read system. District Manager Mark Lewis reported that in the first use of the radio-read system, which reads meters as district workers pass by and downloads the information directly to a laptop computer, the amount of man-hours required was reduced to two days. It had previously taken at least a week to do the read by hand. Lewis said there are still some bugs in the system that need to be worked out, so additional time will be gained.

Lewis also reported that the Payne Gap Water Project Phase III is nearing completion, but added that an extension has been granted to the contract time. Lewis also told the board that there are some leftover funds from the Carcassonne and Elk Creek Project, and asked that the money be re-authorized for debt service in light of lower coal severance tax receipts.

Jamie Noe of Bell Engineering reported that Bell Engineering representatives recently met with Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) and asked that AML make another examination of the Cumberland River Area for funding. In the past, the entire area was rejected for AML funding. Noe also reported that the contract for Phase II of the Pert, Pine, and Cram Creek Water Project has been awarded to Ronnie Mullins and Sons with a low bid of $1,085,875. The bid for the water tank at the Bull Hole was awarded to Phoenix Fabricators for a bid of $426,955. A preconstruction meeting is scheduled for September 4.

Construction is nearing completion on both the line extensions and the water storage tank on Phase III of the Deane Water Improvements Project, with 21,864 linear feet of water line having been laid along Kentucky 1469, Willis Branch, Stevens Fork, and KY 317. The contractors anticipate completion within 30 days.

Bids were opened on the Race Track Hollow Road Project on July 8 and the project was awarded to Boca Construction. Notice to proceed will be issued once Bell Engineering is instructed to move forward by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Noe also reported that Bell Engineering is ready to advertise for bids for line extensions into Loggy Hollow. The anticipated bid date is set at September 9.

District and Bell Engineering representatives met with representatives of U.S. Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers’s office as well as those from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Kentucky River Area Development District, Community Development Block Grant, and others to discuss the possibility of using water from the Wise County Water District as a water source of the Cumberland Rover Water Project.

Bell Engineering is also assisting the district in preparing an amended Corrective Action Plan for the Millstone Sewer Project be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection in response to an Agreed Order that was issued on January 8. Bell Engineering and the district have scheduled a meeting with representatives of the Letcher County Health Department and the Kentucky Department of Health to review potential solutions.

Derek Motsch of Summit Engineering reported that by obtaining easements on the Dry Fork Sewer Extension Project, the district has qualified for a $33,000 reduction in the amount of funding it will need to match to receive $400,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The amount of the match is now $100,000. Motsch also told the board that since some residents of the area will not have treated water, the district will need to find a way to compel them to pay their sewer bill. It is customary to cut off water service in the event of nonpayment, but that will not be an option. The board asked for more information on the matter.

— By WILLIAM FARLEY



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