Posted on October 6, 2021
Former Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby looked out over the crowd assembled for the formal ground breaking of the $22.6 million South Sewer Line extension Friday.
“I hope people really understand the importance of this project,” he said.
The importance of the project was emphasized repeatedly by Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather, Gov. Andy Beshear and Dr. Crystal Miller, WEDCO Health District’s public health director during their remarks. Once completed, some 500 residences at Georgetown Mobile Estate, a mobile home park straddling the Scott-Fayette county line, will have adequate sewer and water service. Currently, the mobile home park’s two sewage package plants are failing, allowing raw sewage to spill into Cane Run Creek, which eventually flows into Elkhorn Creek.
For years, Cane Run Creek has been identified as one of the most polluted waterways in Kentucky. Tests completed in 2017 and 2018 on Cane Run Creek found high levels of fecal pollution and E.coli bacteria consistent with untreated human waste in the water.
“Today, we take a giant step towards providing a basic service to the 500 homes in that park,” Prather said. “With this project, we are solving both an environmental and humanitarian crisis. These mobile home parks are situated between two of the most prosperous communities in all of Kentucky, and we owe it to the residents here to give them a better quality of life. The credit for this sewer line extension goes to many hard-working individuals from numerous local, state and private entities. The city of Georgetown is proud to serve as a facilitator.”
“This is what public health is all about,” Miller said.
“Quality water and sewer are a basic human right, and we will continue to work together to improve infrastructure in every corner of the commonwealth,” Beshear said.
Calling the groundbreaking a “celebration,” Prather made sure ice cream was provided as more than 100 people, including local, state and Fayette County leaders, attended. Prather made a concerted effort to praise as many people as possible for the project which took almost a decade to pull together, including an elaborate funding process that includes a federal EPA grants, funding from the City of Georgetown, Scott County Fiscal Court, the Lexington-Fayette Urban Council Government and a low-interest loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
Beshear, a Democrat, praised the GOP-led Legislature, including Scott County’s Rep. Phillip Pratt, who was in attendance at the event.
“On this we did something people said would never happen,” Beshear said smiling. “We agreed.”
Chase Azevedo, general manager for Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer System (GMWSS), recalled the difficult process to bring everything together, including financing, but also identifying all 500 residences of the mobile home park, securing easements and negotiating with the mobile home park owners, a West Coast bank, that had assumed ownership as part of a bankruptcy.
“Every time someone wanted to quit, someone else stepped up,” said Azevedo who singled out Georgetown’s chief administrative office Andrew Hartley and city attorney Devon Golden as instrumental in getting everything necessary accomplished.
Although the mobile home park is nearly two miles outside Georgetown’s city limits, city-owned utility GMWSS was the logical answer to the failing package plants because of its proximity. The county, in which the mobile home parks rest, had struggled with finding an answer to the ongoing environmental hazard. The problem was GMWSS’s sewer lines did not extend to the Lisle Road park, and extending the lines that distance was not an easy or inexpensive endeavor and the mobile home parks were in the county’s jurisdiction — not the city’s. But shortly after his election around 2016, Prather made it a priority to get the project done and resolve the environmental hazard that not only threatened the mobile home park residences, but also a primary water source for Georgetown and Scott County residents.
Once KIA agreed to the low interest loan due to the failing sewage plants, Prather, the city and GMWSS seized the opportunity to also expand and improve its own sewer lines in the southern part of the city. The project will eventually eliminate as many as seven pumping stations and add sewer service to unserved areas on the bypass that are within city limits.
In the background of the ceremony trucks were already moving large pipes and dirt as construction has already started. The project is expected to take two years to complete and includes about 41,000 linear feet of gravity sewers, 129 precast manholes, 12,000 linear feet of force mains, service connections to the 500 mobile home residences, 50,000 linear feed of sanitary lateral pipe, four tunnels, demolition of three current pump stations, modifications to a pump station and a new submersible fourplex with a building, including electrical, instrumentation, storage room and a 750 kilowatt standby generator.
The project also includes future capacity for another nearby mobile home park in Fayette County with an aging treatment plant. This will provide an immediate solution should that treatment plant fail.
Mike Scogin can be reached at email@example.com.