On Tuesday, members of the Lynch City Council looked at ways to make repairs to their aging sewer and water plants. Mayor Johnny Adams said a sludge digester and sludge drying beds at the sewer plants have to be repaired to begin operating again.
“I got a letter from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) about things that was supposed to be fixed at the sewer plant and wasn’t,” said Mayor Johnny Adams. “I’ve ask for an additional 90 days to try and get some of that fixed. The cost to make all the repairs needed will be close to $29,000. We’ve got, I hope, $25,000 in coal severance dollars and another $1,000 left over from another project, we’ve been told we can use for this, and the other $3,000 we’ve just got to come up with.”
Adams said the city was supposed to have gotten $50,000 in coal severance dollars, $25,000 of which they have already received and used for repairs to their water plant. The other $25,000 they hope to receive will be used for repairs at the sewer plant.
“I have to get this work done, because the EPA is down my throat wanting it done now,” said Adams. “We’re still waiting for KIA (Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, which provides banking functions for a number of infrastructure loan programs) to contact us. I need to send them the project scope and get this going. Then, I was told this money wasn’t a 100 percent guarantee. I thought it better be or our city is in a lot of trouble.”
Sewer Plant Operator Kenny Widner said a valve at the sewer plant also needs replacing. He said the plant had an inflow meter, but never had an outflow meter. He added now the EPA is saying the plant needs an outflow meter.
“That is one of the most expensive things to buy,” said Adams. “We signed a discharge permit and now the EPA has decided we have to have automatic samplers, which is not included in the work we’re doing now, but will have to be bought and paid for in the next three to six months. They don’t want one they want two and it will probably cost close to $10,000. They also want a backup pump installed.”
Widner said the EPA has “been on the city for 18 years or better for the same thing.”
“We were under an agreed order, but the work never did get done by the previous administrations,” said Widner.
Adding a water filter had been down at the water plant for the past three months, Widner said a valve is needed there also. He said he and his co-worker Dewayne Hensley will try to do the work themselves if the city can find the funds to purchase the valve, which may cost as much as $5,000.
Citing a list of problems, Adams said the city is also looking at unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. He said along with shouldering the burden of annual operating and maintenance expenses the city has approximately $51,000 in past due accounts.
“We’re not the only city in trouble,” said Adams. “I can show you city after city that’s in trouble.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 115.