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Lewisport Council Discusses Lift Station Remedies; RO Plant Update

The Lewisport City Council met on Tuesday, February 13th. An update on the reverse osmosis water pilot was provided as well as placing military banners in the City. Guest speaker Karen Colbert, member of the HC Tourism Board, proposed a Food Truck Festival to the council as well. (*You can read that separate article in this week’s Clarion.)

Lift Station/Executive Order Declaration 01-2024

“The Lift Station bid came in a little bit higher than what we were expecting,” Lewisport Mayor Chad Gregory said. “It came in at $278K. I would like to reject this. It is up to you, the council, if we do that.” A motion was received to reject by Councilwoman Mary Margaret Hawkins, was seconded by Councilwoman Tori Shively and approved by the council to reject it, as it was over their budget.

Superintendent R.J. Simpson explained that the base had collapsed. The outdated lift station has given them problems for many years now. “The pumps have aged and deteriorated over time,” he said. “When they deteriorate, what connects the pump to that is no longer there. When a pump kicks on, all of the GPM (Gallons Per Minute) is recirculating inside the well. They can’t get the sewage where it needs to be because of that.

That all happened late on Friday, February 9th. There are 2 pumps in the lift station. Both pumps work but both have the same issue so they are currently being run together to get the GPM up enough to operate.”

The Public Works Crew have a temporary solution. The material is arriving to fix the old pipe inside the well with some 4-inch hose and will get them by until the contractors can redo it. They’ll be putting that in this week so that it will be back up to full GPM and able to operate the pumps.

“Time is of the essence,” Gregory said. “We’ve got to do it now.” City Attorney Charles Kamuf stated that an Executive Order Declaration 01-2024 could be signed to speed up the process.

Engineer Matt Curtis, Co-Owner of Bluegrass Engineering, said, “The plan is, if you so choose to take action as a council in that declaration, we will solicit quotes to short-term fix what R.J. was talking about. We’ll go in and replace the rail system that the pumps slide up and down on and the base elbow where they make the connection to, with a more modern version of what was there.

With these new pumps, that will get us back up and running where we don’t have the fear of it ending up with a situation like we did on Friday. That was what this original project was for but also some safety items in there. We were thinking of including some of those but we’re going to have 2 tiers – immediate needs and wants. We’ve got to get this and then if we have extra money left over we’ll consider those at that point.

By KRS, it’s 7 to 21 days but in this situation the time is of the essence. Just the pumps themselves with the rails and just the equipment, I think you’re looking at $20K. Your equipment cost could double it – I’d say somewhere in the $40K-$50K range. There are contractors we have a working relationship with that we can send some plan sheets and a bid schedule or quote schedule. They fill it out and we go from there. We can go with lowest and best, and a more efficient and reliable industry standard design.”

They discussed installing the same system that Aleris has. That system was installed in 2017 and hasn’t had any failures. The new system will efficiently pump to the sewage treatment plant, and be an asset for the community from here on out.

RO Water Pilot

“Some of the issues we ran into with the pilot,” Curtis said, “was due to iron and manganese. There’s a way to treat the well to remove that instead of drilling new wells. Bryan (Lovan, Co-Owner of Bluegrass Engineering) is looking into that. The big thing right now is funding. We’re waiting and watching Frankfort. There’s a lot of cat and mouse going on which is pretty typical for a budget year with some of the money. Particularly, the round 3 funding – the cleaner water projects.

The governor had stated that there is $500M coming down similar to round 1 and 2. State legislature had other ideas and re-allocated to where some of that money was going. Everyone is waiting anxiously.

One good thing, we had submitted with GRADD the project profile for the treatment plant. There were some modifications made into the narrative to help us score better. They have received questions from the Division of Water and KIA (KY Infrastructure Authority), which is an excellent sign that the project is trending toward being funded. It’s one of the highest ones in the state. It scored very well statewide.

The other thing I was told from someone reviewing those project profiles, the two components they’re looking for in water projects this year are emerging contaminants – either PFAS (Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) or lead. We’re addressing the PFAS in our project. We got credit for that last year; it just wasn’t one they were emphasizing then. This year, the emerging contaminants is the emphasis. That’s where we’re at in the funding aspect of it.

We’ve had discussions. We met toward the end of last year with the City of Lewisport and City of Hawesville to discuss an interlocal agreement. We’re still working with that. We’re waiting for results to come back on the pilot study, the raw data so we can complete that report and then we’ll be able to go to the Div. of Water to get their blessing on it. Once we have their blessing, then we can move on to the design. It’s still moving. There isn’t a trailer sitting there. Bryan is not here every other day, but there is still stuff moving.”

Lighted Walkway

“I got a call on the TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program/KYTC) a couple of months ago,” Gregory said. “If we did apply and present that, we could probably get funding. And, that was the 75×25 walkway we talked about from the shopping center into town. Do we have plans on that?” City Administrator Jason Roberts answered that the project was started and stopped because of the widening of Hwy 60.

Military Banners

Councilman Vanover stated, “Someone came to me asking about the military banners.” Gregory said he thought they were going to get them last fall, and it never happened. The Military Banner Program, owned and operated by U.S. Army Veteran Michael Martin, sells military honoring banners. Those can be displayed in the City of Lewisport, especially during patriotic holidays.

Public Works

There are now 6 Public Works vehicles up and running. “Our ton service truck that had been down since July 7th,” Superintendent R.J. Simpson said, “the control for the transmission came in last week and that was repaired. That was a blessing.

A few gas customers want us to upsize their meters for bigger generators so that’s a plus. We’re going to have more sales through that. We’ve done two of them in the last couple of weeks. We had another new home that we put gas and water services into and it happened to be one that had generators and needed a bigger gas meter. We’ve done some drainage work here. We’ve been trying to get some of the lift station equipment organized. We’ve been getting good use out of this February spring type of weather; We’ve been taking care of some stuff a little earlier than what we normally would.”

Gregory asked, “When you talk about a bigger gas meter, who bares the cost of that?”

“The one that we put in that was the biggest size,” Simpson answered, “the customer paid for half of that gas meter and then we paid for the other half because it’s actually our infrastructure in the end.”

“They just ran into an challenge with one,” City Admin. Jason Roberts added, “because normally they upsize to a 425 meter. A normal one is a 225, and they’re around $100 so we never charge for that. When you get into 425, it wasn’t very much and that’s what most generators were going to. In one, they put a 600 in and it is something normally put in for a commercial building so when it gets into something like that, that is why they had to pay a little bit. They didn’t know prices.”

Utility Truck Bid Awarded

“We have a few bids here,” Gregory said. “It’s not too much of a variance in price. R.J., which one are you suggesting we get?” Simpson said the single cab truck they’ve chosen is like the last one they had, dependable, what they need, and can be picked up from the dealership when they’re ready. The council also made the approval to surplus equipment – vehicles and equipment that the City no longer needs, including a 2005 Ford 250 utility truck and a 2004 white Impala old police cruiser, backhoe and bush hog.

Police Report

Lewisport Chief of Police Greg Linn said that Lewisport Officer Nick Jarboe is off of his crutches now. He had sustained a knee injury during his police academy training last year and had to have a surgery. “He is doing physical therapy and doing well,” Linn said. “He accompanied me on Monday. We went to OPD (Owensboro Police Dept.) for some simulator response to active resistance – different levels. He participated in that. It was all no-impact, simulated. He did well with that. I completed my annual in-service training earlier this month.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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