Gov. Beshear awards $2 million to water and sewer utilities

18 projects funded for water infrastructure improvements in Bracken, Lewis, Fleming Robertson, Mason Counties.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear awarded $2 million to deliver clean drinking water and improved sewer and water systems from the Better Kentucky Plan’s $250 million Cleaner Water Program.

According to the governor’s office, eighteen projects will be funded in five counties and the program is estimated to create approximately 3,800 jobs across the state.

Awards were presented to 15 grantees to fund 18 projects in Bracken, Fleming, Lewis, Mason and Robertson counties.

The work ranges from replacement, repainting and repair projects to upgrades of existing water infrastructure. A list of recipients, award amounts and project descriptions are found here.

“Modernizing our infrastructure – especially water and sewer systems – is vital for the future of Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear.

“Access to clean water is a basic human right, and the safety and security that modern water and sewer systems provide must be available to all of our people, wherever they live. That’s a top priority for my administration, and with this program we are making great progress. It’s important to note that none of this would be possible without the collaboration between local officials, utilities and local partners. To receive this funding, every stakeholder had to reach consensus to determine which projects were the highest priority.”

These five counties received the following award commitments:

Bracken County: $304,936 to fund three projects;

Fleming County: $535,502 to fund four projects;

Lewis County: $487,538 to fund five projects;

Mason County: $626,914 to fund four projects; and

Robertson County: $77,418 to fund two projects.

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 Buffalo Trace Area Development District submitted the funding requests for these projects to the KIA. The $2 million funding award uses each of the five counties entire county allocation from the Cleaner Water Program.

“On behalf of the citizens of Lewis County I would like to thank Gov. Beshear for his support for these five Cleaner Water projects,” said Lewis County Judge/Executive Jimmy Lykins. “These projects are essential to the people of our county.”

Judge Lykins also thanked the Beshear Administration, Rocky Adkins, Sen. Stephen West and Rep. Richard White for their involvement in transportation projects on KY 57, KY 59, KY 8 and the Grayson Spur.

“The Bracken County Fiscal Court is always working to improve water quality and access to our citizens,” said Bracken County Judge/Executive Tina Teegarden. “Clean, safe water is essential, and sanitation is crucial to a healthy society. We greatly appreciate the Cleaner Water funds being allocated by Gov. Beshear to assist Bracken County, the City of Augusta, the Augusta Regional Sewer Authority and the Bracken County Water District, which will improve water quality, sanitation and availability to our citizens.”

“On behalf of the Robertson County Fiscal Court I would like to give thanks to all who helped to get these grant funds,” said Robertson County Judge/Executive Stephanie Holbrook.

Sample Projects:

A total of $133,875 was awarded to the Greater Fleming Regional Water Commission for a project that includes repainting the interior and exterior of a 500,000-gallon steel elevated water storage tank located at the Industrial Park 1 in Flemingsburg. This project is needed to preserve the structural integrity of the tank. Unlike other utilities, this site does not directly serve customers or businesses, but provides drinking water to four area utilities from three wells placed along the Ohio River. Maintaining the water tank ensures it will be a reliable source of water free of contaminants and bacteria.

One of two grants awarded to the City of Flemingsburg will be used to replace a water main on Dorothy Street. The $133,875 investment will address existing water lines constructed 50 years ago that are prone to break approximately three times per year. Replacing the lines will provide a newer, reliable water line to avoid a lack of drinkable water to customers due to aging lines breaks.

“On behalf of the citizens of Fleming County, we are sincerely thankful to Gov. Beshear, the Kentucky Department for Local Government and Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for the investments they have awarded to our communities,” said Fleming County Judge/Executive Larry H. Foxworthy. “These projects would not be feasible due to many limited budgets but are critical to accomplish our goals to strengthen, repair and maintain our aging water main systems.”

In Mason County, $148,914 will be invested in a project to rehabilitate four of the district’s glass lined storage tanks. The tanks include Highland Heights, Germantown, Minerva and Dover. The maintenance and repair of the district’s storage tanks will ensure a continued supply of potable water to over 1,600 customers. Additionally, the project will include the installation of transfer switches and connection lugs at six different sites within the distribution system. This will allow the quick connection of a generator to ensure the supply of clean water in an emergency.

“Today’s funding announcements for Maysville and Mason County represent our continued focus on infrastructure, services and improving our unparalleled quality of life in Mason County, Kentucky,” said Mason County Judge/Executive Owen McNeill. “The Cleaner Water grant funding for Mason County will positively impact all communities and citizens across Mason County, from downtown Maysville to Rectorville, Highland Heights and beyond. The impact of these funds on our aging infrastructure will be immense.”

“I am overjoyed about these projects and the benefits they will bring to Mason County,” said State Sen. Steven West. “In the Kentucky General Assembly, my colleagues and I were committed to making needed investments in our infrastructure, including expanding broadband, improving our highways and roadways and ensuring funding for clean water projects like these. I am grateful for the allocation of funding that made this investment possible and for the bipartisan work of the Governor in prioritizing how those dollars were allocated. I look forward to seeing the positive impact of these projects.”

School Safety Project
Gov. Beshear presented a ceremonial check for $365,000 for a safety project in Vanceburg to design and construct an additional school entrance to provide buses or other traffic with a second entrance into the Lewis County Schools campus off the AA Highway at Vanceburg. It will serve the middle school and high school. The current school access from the Lion’s Lane (KY 2523) intersection on the AA Highway has experienced increased traffic congestion over the years. Building an additional one-way entrance just east of that intersection will reduce traffic flow at the existing school intersection, thereby improving service and safety for all highway users.

Design of the project is already under way, and construction could start as early as next summer.

“I would also like to thank this administration for the school safety funding for the entrance to Lewis County High School and Lewis County Middle School campuses,” said Lewis County Judge/Executive Jimmy Lykins. “This will make this area safer for those who travel the AA, and those who enter these Lewis County school system campuses.”

In April, Gov. Beshear announced plans to invest nearly $23 million in highway safety projects statewide near schools to protect students, educators and families in addition to improving conditions for motorists.

U.S. 21 Bike Route Signage
While in Mason County, Gov. Beshear also announced Maysville would be one of the final locations to install new wayfinding road signs today marking Kentucky’s third U.S. Bike Route. The signage project began in July 2021 to visibly mark U.S. Bike Route 21, crossing 10 Kentucky counties and 15 communities. Maysville serves as one of the state’s two entry and exit points along the national route that will eventually stretch from Atlanta, Georgia to Cleveland, Ohio. Funding for the signage came through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The route closely follows the path marked by Daniel Boone, known as Boone Trace, when he came to Kentucky in 1775.

“With the growing popularity of cycling and mountain biking, this route will not only serve as an alternative mode of transportation for Kentuckians but also encourage economic development by making the state appealing to bicycle tourists looking to travel the scenic and historic route,” said Gov. Beshear.

Senior Housing Project
Today, Gov. Beshear also awarded $265,000 from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for the Mason County Senior Housing Project in Maysville. The project includes the renovation of seven housing units on Forest Avenue that are connected to both the Mason County Senior Center and the Mason County Food Bank. Renovations will include roof replacement, HVAC replacement and upgrades, window and door replacement, new insulation in the ceilings and crawl spaces, new gutters, new energy efficient water heaters and thermostats, replacement of linoleum, carpet and porch poles. The resident sidewalks and parking lot will also be repaired and repaved.

The Kentucky Department for Local Government administers CDBG funding, which is designed to expand economic opportunities and development. Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than $85 million in investment through the DLG for approximately 200 projects that are helping to update infrastructure, diversify regional economies and support Kentuckians.

About the Cleaner Water Program
A total of $16,668,090 million has been awarded to grantees to fund transformative projects since the call for projects was announced June 1. Water Resource coordinators, representing Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts (ADD) and Area Water Management Councils, Utilities are still invited to submit project profiles through the Water Resource Information System (WRIS) portal to indicate interest in funding from the Cleaner Water Program. Eligible government agencies, such as city-owned water or sewer utilities, water commissions, water and sewer districts and counties, may collaborate with a coordinator and council to submit a project. 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 process will be ongoing through Nov. 19, 2021, and 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.

Categories: News, State News