Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

March 27, 2013

Questions surround Olive Hill water equipment never purchased

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

March 27, 2013 — According to an Olive Hill City Council member, an important piece of equipment at the city’s water treatment facility could be on the verge of failing – equipment that the city received state funding to replace in 2006.

Council member Glenn Meade warned of ongoing issues regarding the clarifier at last Tuesday’s Council meeting, issues he says are on clear display to anyone wishing to take a tour of the water treatment facility.

“We’re between a Band-Aid and a prayer for our whole water system coming down,” he said. “Our clarifier has two valves. One valve is completely gone and the other one is leaking.”

Clarifiers are settling basins built with mechanical means for continuous removal of solids being deposited by sedimentation in the water.

Meade also stated that the clarifier was originally constructed in 1957 and has been in continuous service since, nearly twice the normal lifespan of such a device.

Council member Jerry Callihan, who is employed by Rattlesnake Ridge Water District, stated that the sludge valves could be replaced but agreed with Meade that the overall structure of the clarifier is failing and needs to be addressed.

“What we really need is a new water plant but we aren’t going to get a dime until we fix our water loss problem,” Callihan said.

As part of a package of Infrastructure and Economic Development Funds (IEDF) received by Carter County in 2005, the City of Olive Hill’s water district was awarded $1.3 million to fund various projects such as a new water tank at Biggs Hill, an eight-mile interconnecting line with the Grayson Utility Commission and a new clarifier for the water treatment plant.

“Some of those things were done and some were not. I can tell you that $126,000 went to design a water line to Grayson that never happened,” said City Clerk Cheri James, when asked if those funds could be tracked.

James also noted that payment resolutions and other documentation should be filed with the minutes at the meetings such actions were taken.

“We just need to find out the decision making process as to why the clarifier wasn’t purchased,” Meade said.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.