Uploaded 7 years ago
Berea Municipal Utilities (BMU) is one of a few systems in the Bluegrass region that doesn’t rely on the Kentucky River for its water supply, which has both positive and negative aspects. While it’s beneficial to have a supply independent of the source of the majority of the region’s water, the quantity available at any given time is more limited. The system’s current supply at Owsley Fork Reservior stands at 650 million GPD (gallons per day), well short of the 1 billion GPD needed.
To compound the issue, the Owsley Fork Reservoir has been assigned High Hazard status by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This is not due to structural or safety issues with the existing dam, but rather an increase in the potential for higher levels of damage due to new housing development below the existing dam since its construction in 1975.
Various alternatives to remedy these two issues are currently being explored by Berea Municipal Utilities. They include connection into the existing Richmond public water system and pumping additional water from the Kentucky River. Adding to the current capacity of the existing Owsley Fork reservoir might be an option to solve both issues, and creating an additional reservoir is also under consideration.
Another alternative is a system of indirect potable reuse water which would redirect fully treated wastewater effluent into the existing Cowbell Lake where it could be stored as a supplementary supply. While this system is used elsewhere in the US, it would be the first of its kind in Kentucky.
$488,000 in project funding has already been awarded by the NRCS to deal with the improvements made necessary by its High Hazard designation. With the help of BGADD, BMU has received two additional grants totaling $1 million to help with the water supply issues. A planning process is currently underway to identify and analyze the feasibility of the various options, with results expected in Fall 2014. The project is expected to cost $10-12 million at its conclusion.
Uploaded 7 years ago
Berea Comp Plan Public Hearing - September 19,_2013