Commonwealth Journal

News Live

May 12, 2014

Updated city water plant up and running

— Although its still undergoing some finishing touches, Somerset’s expanded and upgraded water plant has been serving its customers since the fall.

“I think we’ve been drinking water out of this new plant ... since November,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler during a dedication ceremony at the plant on Friday. “That’s a long time.”

The new water treatment plant, located at the location of the old plant off Waitsboro Road, is up and operating. All that remains are some minor touches to some of the buildings, such as a new learning center.

The plant, which has been in the works for years after city officials discovered that the old plant was quickly approaching its maximum capacity of 10 million gallons per day, cost around $25 million. Financing came through a $6 million grant, $14 million in low-interest loans from United States Department of Agriculture, and $5 million in city money.

“It’s going to be great for our community, plus it’s going to last the next 25 or 30 years,” said Girdler.

The new facility can treat up to 16 million gallons of water daily, and equipment is available there to further expand to 20 million gallons.

“You can double your capacity from where you are today,” said Kelly Gillespie, of Bell Engineering, a company that has been involved with the water treatment expansions since the original plant was built at the site in 1957. “That does attract industry. There’s no doubt about it.”

Gillespie pointed out that engineers faced a difficult question when the idea of a major upgrade began forming in 2003.

“We faced a dilemma,” said Gillespie. “‘Where do we put the plant?’ ... The expansion had to happen.”

The new plant, replacing the existing facility, utilizes membrane filtration, a relatively new technology that removes bacteria and other microorganisms, particulate material and natural organic material that can impact color, taste and odors to the water.

City officials have said it could be the largest membrane filtration plant in Kentucky and one of less than 10 water plants in the state utilizing such technology.

Without the membrane technology, the Waitsboro site would not have been large enough to accommodate an expansion.

“What it enabled us to do was work on a limited site,” said Gillespie. “Conventional processing wouldn’t have worked. Takes up too much space.”

The water treatment complex consists of three new buildings and renovated existing structures. And within one building a learning center is housed — one that will show interested visitors just how the membrane filtration process works.

A chlorine generator that makes chlorine from salt brine replaced 2,000-pound chlorine cylinders that can be a safety hazard.

The final touches on the new plant should be completed by this fall.

“I think our community is well served by this facility,” said Girdler.

Girdler commended city councilors for moving forward with major renovation projects over the last several years, including the water plant and the new Pitman Creek wastewater treatment plant.

“I remember (with) several of us, one of our main concerns in the next eight, 10, 12 years was infrastructure and being able to improve on what we had,” said Councilor Jim Rutherford during the ceremony. “It took a lot of risk and a lot of pride to come to that conclusion.”

 “ ... It was money well spent,” added Rutherford.

Somerset Water Service wholesales water to Science Hill, Ferguson and Eubank as well as Southeastern and Western Pulaski County water districts.

 The rural water districts extend into four neighboring counties.

City officials have estimated that Somerset Water Service provides water to 120,000 customers.

Text Only
News Live
  • eubank school1.jt.jpg New cafeteria coming soon to Eubank Elementary

    Students at one elementary school in northern Pulaski County will be taking their lunches in the classroom for a bit while construction to its cafeteria continues. 

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rift over firefighter pay finally history

    Somerset officials are closing the books on a years-long disagreement between the city and the state labor cabinet over overtime pay and other benefits for firefighters and EMS workers. 

    July 31, 2014

  • BURNSIDE LODGE-TURNER FOTO.jpg Turner to meet with commissioner on Burnside Island

    A state representative unhappy over secrecy surrounding possible privatization of General Burnside Island State Park said he will respond positively to an invitation to meet with Elaine Walker, commissioner of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Ca

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derek Kissee.jpg Science Hill man charged in Rockcastle County beating

    A Science Hill man has been accused of beating and leaving another Pulaski County man for dead in an abandoned Rockcastle County rock qu

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kingsford Fire 07-29-2014 KS 09.jpg No injuries, minimal damage at Kingsford Plant

    A normal production day at the Kingsford Charcoal Plant in southern Pulaski County was halted for a few hours while firefighters worked to put out a small blaze at the plant. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 020313 SCC Rogers BLdg-0286.jpg SCC tabbed as one of top places to work

    A national publication dedicated to all things secondary education has named Somerset Community College one of the best in the nation to work for. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Warning: Robo phone scam targeting local residents

    Authorities are warning local residents of a possible phone scam.

    July 28, 2014

  • Baskin Robbins Reopens 07-29-2014 JT 17.jpg Baskin Robbins is back in Somerset

    Even with two Dairy Queens, a new Orange Leaf and an ice cream truck, Somerset residents have still been screaming for more ice cream.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOWNTOWN SIDEWALK FOTO.JPG Heated sidewalks provide sparks for workers
    A heated sidewalk to melt snow and ice was “quite the thing” a half century ago in a small town like Somerset. This town’s first and only electrically warmed sidewalk was installed facing Fountain Square alongside First and Farmers National Bank when the bank’s downtown headquarters building was constructed in 1963-64.
    As snow fell, the warm sidewalk melted a walkway about 2 feet wide alongside the bank. It was the talk of the town; quite a gimmick.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 021614 Citizens 11 Boyd randolph.jpg Somerset Schools will fight ruling

    The recent hearing regarding the conflict with county schools over non-resident students might not have gone Somerset’s way, but that doesn’t mean they’re done fighting.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide