Morganfield Looking for Help in Next Phase of Sewer Work

The Union County town is applying for a block grant to help pay for the $2.6 million phase.
Hartford got help from the state for sewer improvements. Now, another western Kentucky town waits for financial help for their sewer woes.

The city of Morganfield is required by the EPA to separate its combined sewer system by 2018. But to continue work,they'll need a $1 million grant to help pay for it.

On Highway 60, drivers worry what's on the surface. Morganfield City Administrator David Presser worries about what's beneath it.

"It's a sanitary problem because the sewage, because of the combined sewer lines gets into stream and on into the river," he says.

The problem: replacing the town's aging sewer system and its combined sewer and storm water system, which the EPA requires them to replace.

"The overflows, in our situation, gets into the ditches, and then goes to the river, so you're not meeting EPA standards and all that goes into the ditch line," Presser says.

Another problem is how a small Kentucky town will pay for it.  The first phase, recently finished, cost more than $4 million, and phase two, focusing on a busy stretch of Highway 60, costs $2.6 million.  The project's total cost: $10 million.

"It's about a year's budget," he says. "We're talking 10 million for a small community like we are to get that project done, which means a lot of our funds we can use for other things are going into that infrastrucure to straighten that out."

Three years ago, city officials raised sewer rates by 60% percent to pay for the first phase. But Presser doesn't think another rate hike is needed.

City officials say they'll meet with business owners near phase two before it begins. They add it should be all done by 2018.
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