Clay and Laurel counties receive more than $3 million for infrastructure upgrades

The money was awarded to one city and seven utilities

LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ) – On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear awarded $3,015,506 to one city and seven utilities in Clay and Laurel counties.

The funding, from the Better Kentucky Plan’s $250 million Cleaner Water Program, will deliver clean drinking water and improved sewer and water systems. The program is estimated to create approximately 3,800 jobs across the state.

The Governor also awarded $51,200 to the City of London from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), administered by the Department for Local Government, for improvements at Levi Jackson Wilderness Park.

“Kentuckians deserve clean water – a basic human right,” said Gov. Beshear. “What’s more, when we invest in our water and sewer infrastructure, we make every Kentucky community more attractive for companies looking to move or expand here, building on our incredible economic momentum. These projects are the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), $250 million was appropriated at the close of the 2021 General Assembly through a bipartisan agreement for clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky.

The Cumberland Valley Area Development District submitted funding requests for Clay and Laurel counties’ projects to the KIA.

Clay County
Gov. Beshear announced $730,885 in Clay County awards, including:

  • $365,443 for the North Manchester Water Association for water system improvements, including waterline replacement and pump station rehabilitation; and
  • $365,442 for the City of Manchester to inspect and repair the city’s eight water storage tanks.

“Clean water is a vital and an integral part of healthy kids, families and communities,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “I really appreciate the leadership here in Clay and Laurel counties in making this appropriation a reality for our residents, and for their drive and focus to improve public health standards for everyone in this community.”

“As the commonwealth begins its rebound from the COVID-19 endemic, access to relief funding and how to spend it has been at the forefront of our legislative agenda,” said Rep. Derek Lewis, who represents Clay County as well as a portion of Laurel County. “I look forward to seeing the much needed updates that will be brought forth as a result of the work done by my colleagues and me. I thank the Governor and his administration for the opportunity to share this news with Clay and Laurel County and celebrate this announcement.”

Laurel County
Gov. Beshear announced $2,284,621 in Laurel County awards, including:

  • $453,032 for Laurel County Water District No. 2 for a full-scale rehabilitation of the district’s existing Aisin Water Storage Tank located in the Lily community;
  • $110,988 for the Corbin City Utilities Commission for rehabilitation of the North Corbin Water Tank;
  • $448,640 for the East Laurel Water District for system improvements on Old Salem Road and McWhorter Road;
  • $339,313 for the London Utility Commission to extend sewer service to the Rowland Industrial Park;
  • $452,996 for the West Laurel Water Association to replace undersized waterlines and provide better fire protection;
  • $428,452 for the Wood Creek Water District to replace a problematic pipe section and improve service for 7,000 customers; and
  • $51,200 for the City of London from the RTP for new trail signs and trail maintenance at Levi Jackson Wilderness Park.

“As federal relief funds become available to the state, it goes without saying that the access to this money has been a silver lining from the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature worked tirelessly in appropriating this funding to the areas that need it most,” said Rep. Tom O’Dell Smith, who represents Knox County as well as a portion of Laurel County. “It is exciting to see the updates that happen as a result of this work. I am grateful to share this news with the people of London and the Laurel County community.”

“It is a very exciting opportunity to join my colleagues who also represent Laurel County in announcing such a vital infrastructure update,” said Rep. Regina Huff, who represents Whitley County, as well as a portion of Laurel County. “Access to clean drinking water has been a priority for the legislature for quite some time, and it is uplifting to see these projects come to fruition, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share this news.”

“As federal relief dollars have begun making their way into the state, the legislature continues to fight to ensure that funding be given to areas we believe could improve the quality of life for Kentuckians across the commonwealth for generations to come,” said Rep. Shane Baker, who represents a portion of both Laurel and Pulaski counties. “It is exciting to share this news with the people of Laurel County as these much needed updates come to fruition, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

“Access to clean water and the infrastructure that supplies it is fundamental in maintaining a healthy community. My colleagues and I have maintained that investing in this infrastructure will improve the quality of life for Kentuckians across the commonwealth,” said Rep. Timmy Truett, who represents the 89th House district which includes Jackson, Lee and Wolfe counties, as well as portions of Laurel and Madison counties. “I look forward to seeing the vital infrastructure updates in our district. I would like to thank the Governor’s administration for the opportunity to share this incredible news with the people of Laurel County.”

“We appreciate the Governor being here today and for providing this much needed funding for several Cleaner Water Projects, which are very important to our community,” Laurel County Judge/Executive David Westerfieldsaid. “We feel very fortunate to be receiving this funding, which we plan to use to upgrade our water and sewer systems in the county.”

“Gov. Beshear, I would like to express my gratitude for these grant funds coming to Wood Creek Water District, West Laurel Water Association and East Laurel Water District,” Superintendent Donta Evanssaid. “These funds are much needed for various upgrades and new projects. Once again, my thanks.”

“We consider it an honor and a privilege to have Gov. Beshear visiting Laurel County and we greatly appreciate the funding for infrastructure for Laurel County Water District No. 2,” said Superintendent Kenneth Fisher. “The funds which are being provided for infrastructure improvements across the state will be a benefit to all residents and visitors to Kentucky. We appreciate Gov. Beshear’s dedication to improving Kentucky.”

About the Cleaner Water Program
More than $158 million has been awarded to grantees to fund transformative projects since the call for projects was announced June 1. Eligible government agencies, such as city-owned water or sewer utilities, water commissions, water and sewer districts and counties, collaborated with their local area development districts and water management councils to submit projects for Cleaner Water Program funding. There are 713 public drinking water and wastewater utilities in Kentucky.

Cleaner Water Program funding is allocated in three ways:

  • $150 million based on each county’s proportion of the state’s population, with the exception of Jefferson County’s share, which is discounted by 50% based on its high per capita allocation from the federal act. A list of the allocations by county can be found here.
  • $50 million is available for utilities to provide drinking water services to unserved, rural customers or to utilities under a federal consent decree. The KIA shall consider social, economic and environmental benefits in determining the allocations.
  • $49.9 million is available to supplement a project grant for a project with a cost in excess of a county’s allocation amount and other available grant sources. The social, economic and environmental benefits shall be considered in determining project allocations. KIA will receive $75,000 to administer the grant program.

The application deadline was Nov. 19, 2021; however, KIA will make awards continuously throughout the year. All grant awardees must obligate the funds by Dec. 31, 2024.

The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2019 projected that Kentucky faces nearly $14.5 billion in water/wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years, including over $8.2 billion in drinking water upgrades and $6.2 billion in sewer system improvements.

Information about the Cleaner Water Program, as well as grants for broadband expansion, school facility upgrades and vocational education center renovations, can be found at governor.ky.gov/BetterKy.

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