Utilities talk Water Plant repair, expansion

By Matt Lasley - mlasley@civitasmedia.com

Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant Manager Darren Dennison addressed the Utilities Commission Thursday, Feb. 18 regarding the need for repairs and expansion at the water plant.

Dennison gave a brief presentation on the history of the water plant, as well as the work that needs to be done to improve it.

According to Dennison, the water plant was put online in 1968 and has since had two upgrades, one in 1984 and the second in 1996.

Dennison said that all of the water plant’s concrete basins and clearwells were built in 1967 and 1984, and in the decades since, the concrete has undergone substantial deterioration that requires repair.

Additionally, when the water plant underwent its two previous upgrades, none of the basins was expanded for future growth.

Dennison said the basins remain the same size as they were in 1968 when the plant pumped only 270,000 gallons per day, causing the basins to frequently have to be washed down due to heavy silting.

On average, the Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant currently produces 2 million gallons of water per day, Dennison said.

“On average, a water plant should go 30 to 60 days without washing down the basins,” Dennison said. “Our plant is every five to seven days.”

When a wash down occurs, the plant is offline for three to four hours, rendering it incapable of pumping water to Leitchfield, according to Dennison.

The water plant is also in need of two new filters to ease the load of the other filters when they need to be backwashed and continue being able to supply water to Leitchfield, Dennison said.

The Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) is also pushing for water systems to have redundancies (additional filters and expanded basins) in place with filters and catch basins in the event that they need to be taken out of service.

Dennison said the Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant currently has no redundancy in place, so the water department feels the time is right to upgrade the plant to meet KDOW expectations, as well as resolve the plant’s issues.

With the proposed redundancy basins and filters, the Leitchfield water plant can increase its capacity to 4 million gallons, Dennison said.

A cost for the Water Treatment Plant expansion and repairs has not been determined, and there is an estimated one-year lead time on the project, according to Utilities Chairman Robert Crawford.

Leitchfield Utilities intends to seek grants to help fund the project, as well, Crawford said.

In other business:

*Utilities Commissioner Dorothy McCall requested an update on the water leak at Dr. Gay Fulkerson’s practice.

Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent Dwight Embry said the utilities have both attempted to block the catch basin at Fulkerson’s practice to force the leak to the surface, as well as used leak detection equipment all around the area, but the source of the leak has not yet been found.

Embry said he believes the water running through Fulkerson’s catch basin is likely a combination of storm water, sump pump water, and city water.

“They’re losing probably 10,000 gallons a month,” Embry said.

The utilities determined that part of the leak at Fulkerson’s practice derives from a leak at the Leitchfield Post Office; however, that leak is the Post Office’s responsibility to repair, Embry said.

*Embry said that, after coordinating with another company on the dump bed, the utilities’ new dump truck is expected to be finished and ready for use in six to seven weeks.


By Matt Lasley


Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

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