Utilities mull building new water plant


By Matt Lasley - mlasley@civitasmedia.com



What started as an effort to upgrade and improve the Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant may result in a whole new Water Plant.

The Leitchfield Utilities Commission held its regular meeting on Thursday, July 8 to hear the recommendation of engineering company Cann-Tech on how best to proceed with the Leitchfield Water Plant capital improvement project.

Leitchfield Utilities initially contacted Cann-Tech as a consultant on its capital improvement project for the current Water Plant, which would include renovations and upgrades.

However, during Thursday’s meeting, Larry Cann, Principal In Charge of Cann-Tech, said that, after studying the current, 50-year-old Leitchfield Water Plant, it would benefit the utilities to compare the cost of renovating the current plant and building a new one.

Cann said Cann-Tech has done preliminary life cycle cost analyses and projects that the construction of a new Water Plant would cost less over time than to renovate and upgrade the current plant.

“We’d like to get into that a little bit further and really hone in the numbers,” Cann said.

Cann said a new plant would be projected to have at least a 40-year life cycle. He also commended the city for how well it has maintained the current Water Plant in order for it to have lasted 50 years.

However, “Structurally, there are things they can’t fix,” Cann said.

A new Water Plant would be built on the same piece of real estate as the current Water Plant.

Cann said that Cann-Tech has already done preliminary engineering reports for the construction of a new Leitchfield Water Treatment Plant and would assist with all funding.

Based on the current rates, the estimated loan interest on a new Leitchfield Water Plant would be somewhere between the 1.6 percent poverty rate and 2.25 percent intermediate rate, due to the county customers in the intermediate range who are served by Leitchfield Utilities, Cann said.

Cann said the estimated cost of the construction of a new Leitchfield Water Plant would be $6 million to $8 million.

“Without a doubt, if you look at this over a 30-year period, it will be cheaper to build a new Water Plant,” Cann said.

Additionally, Cann said the project timeline of a new Water Plant would be an estimated four-year period to complete with construction.

Leitchfield Utilities Chairman Robert Crawford said the utilities will need to gauge any impediments to their wholesale customers’ being on board with the project.

After the discussion, the Utilities Commission voted to advertise for engineering services for either the renovation of the current Water Plant or the construction of a new Water Plant.

In other business:

*The Utilities Commission approved a $600 invoice from Danny Woosley for fabrication of aluminum for the Water Plant.

*Crawford said that Cannon & Cannon’s report on Leitchfield Utilities and the Grayson County Water District has been completed and submitted for review by the entities.

Cannon & Cannon, located out of Knoxville, TN, said the two entities have the following four options:

The Water District can buy Leitchfield Utilities’ water system. Leitchfield Utilities can buy the Grayson County Water District. The two entities can form a third entity from which they both buy water. Or they can remain as is.

No action was taken on this matter on Thursday, but Crawford said that, after reviewing the report, he found no compelling arguments for Leitchfield Utilities to operate differently than it has for the past several decades.

*Crawford advised the Utilities Commission that a newer Leitchfield Utilities vehicle was involved in a traffic accident on Thursday.

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By Matt Lasley

mlasley@civitasmedia.com

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

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