Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 24, 2013

Drinking water upgrades needed

Ashland, nation face same challenges

ASHLAND — The United States needs more than $384 billion in upgrades to its drinking water systems over the next 20 years, according to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency.

 The greatest need is replacing aging distribution infrastructure, which local officials say is the case in eastern Kentucky. Old pipes, pumps and tanks are the biggest need, according to the EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment of more than 73,000 water systems across the country.

Kentucky alone needs more than an estimated $6.2 billion in upgrades over the next 20 years. The majority, an estimated $4.8 billion, are for transmission and distribution upgrades. Treatment upgrades of $708 million, storage upgrades of $524 million, and source upgrades of $96.8 million along with $50.4 million needs classified as other were reported to the EPA by the state as part of the survey. Amounts are in 2011 dollars, according to the EPA.

In 2007, the EPA reported Kentucky needed $5.6 billion in upgrades up from $3.8 billion in 2003, $2.6 billion in 1999 and $3.6 billion in 1995, the first year the survey was completed.

Regional drinking water needs are very much in line with the national assessment, said Dan Cheek, the water services coordinator for the FIVCO area development district.

Cheek said of the 36 systems in the FIVCO area all but one reported their greatest need was aging infrastructure. “The same problem was aging infrastructure, how to maintain and repair it while at the same time extending service when you need to do that,” said Cheek.

Ashland is FIVCO’s largest water provider. It provides drinking water to between 50,000 and 60,000 customers, said Ryan Eastwood, Ashland’s director of Engineering and Utilities.  

He echoed Cheek and the EPA study — aging infrastructure is by far the greatest need.  However, he doesn’t put too much stock in the estimated totals. “Whenever someone comes and asks you what your needs are, well we need this, we need that, but if rate payers are paying for it, we don’t need it anymore,” he explained.

In Ashland, he said, the greatest need is for tank maintenance. The city has a dozen large water storage tanks, many of which have been in service for almost 80 years.

“They are rusting out and flaking on the inside,” said Eastwood. While breaks in water lines garner more attention, he said, “The biggest need is tank maintenance. You can make them look real pretty on the outside, but on the inside ...”

Eastwood said the city finished inspecting all of its tanks a few weeks ago, a process that has been ongoing since January.

“We know which ones are in poor condition, that need to be sandblasted and coated on the inside,” he said. “About four,” he said, are in pretty bad shape.

Upgrades on the outside and inside of the tanks will cost about $100,000 to $200,000 each and can be completed in about two weeks, said Eastwood. The city is planning to do the work, but it first must figure our how to maintain service.

For example, there is only one tank serving customers in the Catlettsburg area, including Marathon’s Catlettsburg Refinery, said Eastwood. “If we take it (the tank) down, and we’re only providing water by pumps and something happens, everyone is without water, including the refinery,” he said.

The situation is similar in Cannonsburg, which is fed by a large tank in the Summit area. To make matters worse, water officials weren’t exactly sure how to turn water off to all the tank as the maps marking the location of valves are as old as the tanks themselves, said Eastwood. “

Waterworks officials are doing some “experiments,” said Eastwood, “We’re working on that. We’re trying to figure out how to take the tank down without interrupting service,” he said.

Another area of need, said Eastwood, are pump stations that need upgrading with new technology that will both save on electricity and are easier to control. New pumps, he said, could help prevent some of those large water line breaks.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News in brief, 07/31/14

    About 450 marijuana plants were confiscated during an eradication effort in Lawrence County on Tuesday.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731facelift1.JPG Painters finishing up work at ACTC

    When Ashland Community and Technical College students return to campus Aug. 18, they will find fresh paint, clean windows and pressure-washed brickwork on the college’s original building on College Drive.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Night Moves on tap for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairview school district being investigated

    State education investigators were scheduled to arrive in the Fairview school district this morning to interview school officials.

    July 30, 2014

  • Advisory committee on landfill to meet

    Members of the county’s new advisory committee regarding Big Run Landfill enforcement are encouraged to attend the group’s first meeting next week.
    Committee facilitator Mike Clevenger of Cannonsburg said the panel will meet the first Monday of each month, starting next week. For now, all meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Boyd County Community Center.

    July 30, 2014

  • Highway dedicated in Morehead man’s name

    During Wednesday morning’s highway dedication ceremony for late airman Daniel N. Fannin, 30, of Morehead, the man was honored as a Kentucky hero for dedicating his life to the U.S. Air Force until his untimely death last year.

    July 30, 2014

  • Stumbo questions Noah’s Ark incentives, backs off on expanded gambling

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo on Wednesday questioned the constitutionality of state incentives for a Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in Grant County.

    July 30, 2014

  • Night Moves for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August in downtown Ashland from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Arts in the Vines’ will be in conjunction with U.S. 60 Yard Sale

    Offering a different taste of life in Carter County, the owners of RockSprings Winery are inviting locals and visitors to the U.S. 60 Yard Sale to spend some time in their vineyards during the first “Arts in the Vines” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimes zeroes in on women’s issues with latest ad

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is out with a third television ad posing questions from Grimes’ supporters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 30, 2014