Public Service Commission authorizes Bullitt Utilities to abandon leaking sewer system
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided Bullitt Utilities can walk away from its sewer system, after it's been dumping toxic waste into a Bullitt County creek for more than a year.
The plant serves about 700 customers in the Hunters Hollow and Hillview areas of Bullitt County. There was an explosion there in March of last year.
"When it first happened, the odor was so bad," said Cinderella Bauman, who lives nearby.
A WDRB News investigation found that roughly 17 months later, sewage was still leaking.
"I don't think we should have to suffer for someone else's problem," said Mason Endsley, who also resides close to the plant.
Bullitt Utilities went before the PSC last week asking to walk away. The company said it couldn't afford to clean things up.
"Our client, Bullitt Utilities, we believe, has fought the good fight," said Robert Moore, Attorney for Bullitt Utilities at the hearing.
The commission decided Monday the company met the legal requirements to authorize the abandonment.
"They basically have to demonstrate that they are no longer interested in or capable of operating that utility going forward," PSC Spokesman Andrew Melnykovych told WDRB News.
The search now begins for a temporary operator as officials don't want there to be an interruption in service. The PSC says it would like the Bullitt County Sanitation District to take over by Sept. 30.
"There's a lot of liabilities associated with that utility," Melnykovych said. "The receiver does not assume responsibilities for those liabilities."
But with this decision comes questions about who will be left to pay. The PSC says the financial aspects of this situation are far from over.
"The plant had over $3 million in debt, plus the fines they were supposed to be paying," said Hunters Hollow Mayor Linda Parker. "Where does that go? Who is going to be responsible for $3 million? I hope not the home owners because we can't pay that."
The people who live near this plant say they want to see and smell change.
"I honestly hope that somebody will take care of it," Endsley said.
And some say Bullitt Utilities should have had to fix it.
"They should be held accountable. That is there responsibility to clean that up," Bauman told WDRB News.
"Nobody pretends that it's fair," Melnykovych said. "It's not fair to those folks who have to live with it but the commission's role in this is to try to find as good of a resolution for the customers of that utility as is possible under the current circumstances."
The PSC will go to the Franklin County Circuit Court to appoint a temporary operator.
- Public Service Commission holds hearing on Bullitt Utilities' dumping activities
- UPDATE: Louisville owners want to abandon leaking Bullitt County sewage site
- Bullitt Utilities says company can't afford to fix leaking sewage problem
- INVESTIGATION: Toxic sewage pours into Bullitt County water for more than a year
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