Residents discussing options after meeting

Christy Howell-Hoots - [email protected]

BROOKSVILLE — In response to a recent public meeting to discuss the Augusta Regional Sewer Authority wastewater treatment plant, some area residents who live along Kentucky 19 between Augusta and Brooksville made plans to gather and discuss their options.

On Tuesday, during a public meeting, residents were notified that anyone not hooked up to the current sewage line, but within 300 feet of the impending sewage line, will be mandated to hook onto the line within 90 days of the project going online.

Bracken County resident Jessica Kern said she invited her neighbors to her home on Friday evening to discuss what options might be regarding the mandatory hookup.

“I want to give my neighbors the opportunity to digest the information and brainstorm ideas,” she said. “We just have a lot of information to weave through, so I wanted to hold this meeting.”

An ordinance, originally passed by Bracken County Fiscal Court in 2005 and amended in 2017, requires all customers in the area to be hooked to a sanitary sewer system, when available, if the resident is within 300 feet of the line.

The ordinance, however, does have exemptions, which include residences not within 300 feet of the line and residences which currently have a sewage system on site that is considered feasible. If the sewage system is considered feasible, the resident will have to provide documentation that it was installed within the previous 10 years and provide a notarized statement from the health department regarding functionality.

“If granted, the permit shall be valid for a period of five years up to 15 years from the date of issuance, depending on the age of the system,” the ordinance said. “No permit issues will be for longer than 15 years. If, for whatever reason, during the duration of the extension, the on-site wastewater system fails, the permit shall be automatically revoked and the owner must arrange for the building to be connected to the service provider’s sanitary sewer system.”

The costs associated with that is estimated to be $6,000 to $7,000. If property owners sign user agreements for the new system prior to the August 2018 deadline, however, connection, grinder pump and tap fees will be waived, according to ARSA Board Member John Yingling.

“The property owner will be responsible only for the cost of the connection from the grinder pump to the house (structure),” he said.

The new plant will replace two plants currently in Brooksville and Augusta, as both plants are outdated, according to Yingling.

“The plants had a 20-year life cycle on them,” Yingling said. “Both have passed that cycle by 20 years. Augusta and Brooksville infrastructure remains a problem. Inflow and infiltration of rainwater into the sewer system needs to be curtailed. Inflow is a clean water source (such as rainfall) entering the system through an illegal point connection.”

Yingling said rates for customers are expected to be available by the end of July and will be on the ARSA website.

“The cost of maintaining the old infrastructure of Augusta and Brooksville will come initially from the revenue of the $12.79 surcharge — this will be to cover repair and improvements. Hopefully, improvements to the infrastructure now will help defer future maintenance costs as it continues to age. ARSA inherits all the outdated and aged infrastructure of both cities once the new WWTP comes on line,” he said.

Christy Howell-Hoots

[email protected]