Cleanup underway at site of troubled Bullitt County sewer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A seven foot tall pile of waste sits near the Bullitt County sewer plant that contaminated public water. But it's a sign of progress in Hunters Hollow.
It means for the first time in 18 months, Curt Rexroat can see the ground at the troubled wasterwater site across from his home.
"They're really doing some work, some major work overthere..it's great.
The progress comes six weeks after a WDRB report exposed raw waste spilling into a public creek. The sewage site collapsed in March 2014 and the problem was never fully fixed. After our investigation, the owner (Bullitt Utilities Inc.) abandoned the property.
Last week the state appointed a new operator: the Bullitt County Sanitation District.
"The problem has primarily been the valving arrangement," said Jerry Kennedy Director of the Bullitt County Sanitation District. "You cannot throttle and control flow with this type of valving arrangement."
"The next thing we have done is order up brand new equipment for this pump station to make this pump station fully functional," Kennedy said.
Despite the effort some residents in nearby Hillview are skeptical about BCSD's ability to get the clean up job done.
"We're just wondering if they can't even take care of what they already have here.. how can they take care of more?" asked James Hestla, a Hillview neighbor. Hestla lives in the shadow of the BCSD wastewater treatment plant on Cathy Way. He said the creek behind his home is often contaminated due to plants failure.
The team brought to fix the Hunters hollow mess has dozens of violations of its own according to the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection. BCSD's citation include failing to report spills and degrading the waters of the commonwealth. The Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet fined Bullitt Sanitation $100,000 in 2014, but allowed the utility to keep the money and make repairs.
Kennedy said BCSD will dedicate a special team to test manholes, underground sewer lines and homes to find every leak in the system for the eight plants it now operates, including Hunters Hollow.
"We intend to start solving their problems," said Kennedy. "If someone in the community has a problem they need to reach out to us now."
Much like Bullitt Utilities Kennedy said part of the issues in the county are tied to aging infrastructure and lacking funding. "Some of these plats of 45, 50 and even 60 years old," said Kennedy
All the sludge pulled up off the ground at the Hunters Hollow sewage site has been piled underneath a blue tarp--roughly seven feet tall at its peak. Kennedy said the sanitation district has hired an environmental company to figure out what to do with it.
Rexroat remains hopeful. "You've got to take baby steps to get started because that's a major problem and will not be fixed overnight."
The status of customers bills is in flux.
Kentucky's Public Service Commission is considering a request to approve a 120% increase.
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