According to county officials, large plans for multiple water projects are underway in Perry County. Three of the projects, officials said, are expected to be completed within the next year, and will greatly impact the residents of the county.
The projects currently ongoing include a new waste water treatment plant in Vicco and two new interconnects. One of the interconnects, according to Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander, will be from Jackson into Buckhorn and the other will be from the Knott County and Carr Creek Lake system leading to Ky. 80. Alexander said he is excited about the projects and believes they will make a huge difference for the county.
“We’re excited about the Vicco waste water treatment plant. It had been out of compliance for many years, and the funding for such new and big projects is always hard to find, but we got a grant through the court to put in a new plant,” said Alexander.
Some progress has already been made on the plant replacement, said Alexander, explaining that approximately a month ago, the county began construction of a low-water bridge crossing with part of the grant money.
“We’re excited to see that infrastructure project move forward. It’s much needed and will help continue to grow the pieces of the puzzle in our infrastructure that we need to make this county what it needs to be,” Alexander said.. “I think the project will be completed within 18-24 months.”
He said the project will require additional funding, but he is currently still trying to find funds to match the grant amount.
Alexander said the county has also been working on two separate interconnect projects, and hope to have more in the future. While only temporarily solving major water issues, the interconnects, Alexander said, will still be helpful for not only Perry County, but surrounding counties as well.
“What’s great about the interconnects is that it ties us in with two other systems and allows us to feed over a million gallons of water a day into our system,” said Alexander. “I said that when we were going to solve our water problems, we have to set short-term and long-term goals, and one of the short-term goals was that we had to have interconnects.
“You can do them quickly, but to do a new plant is probably a 10-12 year project, and so we’re still pushing for the long-term goal of another plant to serve the citizens and businesses of Perry County, but in the short-term we had to come up with a fix which is interconnects,” he continued.
Alexander said that, within a year, he hopes to have both interconnects in place, working and accessible for both residents and citizens of surrounding areas.
Even though the interconnects are a short-term solution, Alexander said, it will still be a major step in the right direction, and will bring hope to the area.
“It doesn’t get us out of the weather this winter, but for the first time, we can tell the people these projects are coming and within a year or so they will be in place and will serve the citizens of Perry County,” Alexander said. “Working with the city to make this a top priority has been one of our goals. We knew we had water issues and we knew we needed to solve them, and now we can start showing the results of the work that we’ve put towards solving these issues.”
The county, Alexander said, is glad to have the projects in progress, but are always looking to expand and better the area, and are currently trying to secure funds for a new water plant. In the future, Alexander said, he would like to add at least two or three more interconnects, ideally around Avawam and the Perry/Leslie line, in or around Jeff and around Leatherwood and the Letcher/Perry County line.