Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

April 3, 2013

Tension rising over water treatment issues

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer

April 3, 2013 —     Tuesday night’s special meeting of the Olive Hill City Council featured moments of confrontation regarding questions surrounding past appropriation of water project funds.

    Bryan Kirby of Community and Economic Development Associates, Inc. (CEDA) was present to answer Council questions about why a water clarifier was not purchased with funds earmarked for that purpose.

    A 2006 press release from the Kentucky Department of Local Government stated that the project funds were given to the Olive Hill Water District to “build an eight-mile interconnect with the Grayson Utility Commission, rehabilitate older lines east of Olive Hill, install radio-read meters, and build a new clarifier at the water treatment plant.”

    Kirby is the project administrator for many of the city’s past and ongoing infrastructure developments.

    Though Kirby was able to provide information regarding expenditures from the $1.3 million that confirmed many of the intended projects had been completed, he could not give specific details on why a new clarifier was left out of the project plan.

    “I can’t tell you that,” he said. “I don’t know where you’re going to find that information. If you haven’t been able to find it in past meeting minutes, I can’t help you.”

    Council member Glenn Meade sparred with Kirby, asserting that he and the Council intend to find those responsible for overlooking equipment that, if it fails, could leave the city without water.

    The exchange between Meade and Kirby was tense and heated at times and at one point Meade uttered an expletive in his anger. That drew a swift reprimand from Mayor Kenny Fankell.

    “This Council has voted for an investigation as to why this clarifier wasn’t purchased and we will pursue this to the fullest extent of our ability until we find answers,” said Meade.

    The Council then looked at revised plans to correct errors with the failed water filtration designed system by E.L. Robinson Engineering – the Ashland firm overseeing upgrades to the water treatment facility.

    Council member Jerry Callihan, who was openly critical of the original design and the engineer that drafted it, Paul Amburgey, expressed satisfaction with the revised plan and believes it will correct the errors in the system.

    “This is what we should have done in the first place. The two filtration lagoons will hold 85,000 gallons each, which is double the amount that the first plan called for,” Callihan said.

    The next regular Olive Hill City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 16 at the Olive Hill Senior Community Center.

    Joe Lewis can be reached at or by telephone at 286-4201.