Danville wants to sell water to consortium

September 23, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

A group of water utilities is narrowing down the options to ease water supply shortages in time of drought. And Danville would apparently like to be a lead player in the process, but there are questions if it can.

The Bluegrass Water Supply Consortium is a group of water utilities from 15 counties including Boyle, Mercer and Garrard that has been discussing options for new pipelines that would help the region in the event of a severe dry period. Monday night, the group presented three top options, while a representative from Danville presented a possible fourth.

The first option is a new water treatment plant on the Kentucky River north of Frankfort. Second is building a pipeline to bring in treated water from the Ohio River near Louisville. The third option would result in a building a new treatment plant, also on the Ohio River.

However, Don Hassall with the Bluegrass Area Development District said Danville would like to sell the group water from Herrington Lake, if it can. He said it's unknown what Kentucky Utilities' reaction to that is since KU owns the lake.


Danville Water Superintendent Ted Croushorn attended Monday's meeting. "We would like to sell them water. Whether or not we can I don't know," Croushorn said.

Danville City Engineer Earl Coffey acknowledged that Danville would like to sell the consortium water, but would not comment further. "We would have to amend our contract (with KU) to increase sales outside Boyle County," he said.

Herrington Lake contains about 175 billion gallons of water and is 249 feet at its maximum depth, according to information from the Herrington Lake Conservation League's Web site.

Danville is considering building a new water treatment plant, and selling some of that water to the consortium could help the city re-coup some of the costs associated with constructing a new plant, said City Commissioner Ryan Owens. "When we joined (the consortium) our thought was to supply water."

The new plant could produce up to 20 million gallons a day, double the plant's current capacity, and is among the options being considered by the city to comply with federal drinking water standards.

The problem with Herrington Lake is that it contains organic materials that react with chlorine to form compounds that may cause cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency has required water utilities to reduce those compounds. "The new rules are really thorough," said Croushorn.

"We appreciate Danville's interest in the consortium," said Hassall.

Hassall said the consortium wants a supplier that can make up the use of 67 million gallons per day. Currently Danville's plant is capable of producing 10 MGD, but only produces 5.5 MGDs during peak demand times. "We're encouraging them on," he said.

Meantime, the water consortium is in the process of forming a regional water commission, Hassall said. The group is nothing more than a grassroots effort at this point, he said. "We have no legal status."

The consortium's main goal is develop a grid of pipelines that each community within the group could draw water from in times of shortages. The last of a series of workshops from the consortium is scheduled for Oct. 13, when it could be decided which water supply option will be taken.

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