Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 11, 2007

Adjusting to new levels

State approves design for Somerset Water's modified intake plan

Somerset — Somerset Water Service Manager Charlie Dick and City Engineer Alex Godsey got to work quickly when they learned there was a possibility that Lake Cumberland’s levels could be lowered to a point that the water company would not be able to continue its operations.

In reaction to their fast reaction time, Gov. Ernie Fletcher also moved quickly to offer assistance at the state level.

Gov. Fletcher announced last week that the Kentucky Division of Water has approved the Somerset Water Service’s plans to modify its water intakes.

Dick says the city has also received verbal confirmation that financial assistance is on its way for the estimated $1.2 million undertaking.

The city applied for a grant in the amount of $565,000. Fletcher has said the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) is working on a state grant to repay Somerset for some of the project costs.

“The Governor’s Office for Local Development, along with the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, is working diligently to locate available funding resources to address concerns related to the relocation of water intakes that serve more than 200,000 Kentucky citizens,” said Fletcher.

With the water intake modification plan in place, work on the project can begin as soon as the funding is received.

The water department’s engineers devised a modification in which three to four barges will serve as floating platforms for pipes that will extend 1,000 feet from the shore into the lake pool. Each barge will carry a pump to force lake water through the pipes to existing intakes. From that point, the water treatment procedure will continue as usual.

The modification will enable Somerset to continue to draw raw water if the Army Corps of Engineers decides to lower the lake even further during repairs to its impoundment, Wolf Creek Dam.

The Corps of Engineers anticipates the project to repair the leaking dam could take up to seven years.

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