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Plans for expanding La Grange Utility Commission wastewater treatment continue with a public hearing on Oct. 10.
After the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet identified several violations in June 2010, the LUC signed an agreed order to significantly increase the volume of waste water handled per day.
Current capacity is 770,000 gallons per day, and the proposed facilities plan will increase that to 1.9 million gallons per day. The facilities are presently operating at — and sometimes over — capacity, resulting in the EEC violations.
Without the facility expansion, the plant cannot support any additional development in the area.
“It’s a real shame,” said La Grange Mayor Bill Lammlein. “What do we do if someone wants to build a three-story office building? Tell them no?”
The EEC will not permit any new commercial sewer taps into the La Grange plant, putting a halt on any additional development.
The total probable projected cost for the project is $5.1 million, including construction contingencies and technical services. The agreed order with the state mandates the project be completed by Dec. 31, 2013.
The facilities proposal, developed by Strand Associates engineering firm, outlined several methods of funding, including a possible legislative grant and a bond issue. But, it is expected sewer usage rates will have to increase to pay for the improvements.
In July, La Grange City Council voted against raising sewer rates 11.5 percent, which would raise the average household bill $2.66 per month.
Lammlein said he doesn’t usually support raising taxes, but realized the sewer situation was a “have-to thing.”
According to a 2010 report, the average La Grange Utilities bill was $18 less than Oldham County’s average bill.
Rates have not significantly increased since 2005, excluding the built-in annual increase of 2.5 percent. State involvement may be necessary if the increase is not passed.
Even with the expansion, La Grange faces a halt on new business growth until capacity can be expanded.
Lammlein said the city is looking at different options.
“We’ll push along — we’ll get capacity somehow,” he said.
Lammlein hopes La Grange residents will come to the public hearing on Monday.
“It’s so important to get citizens involved,” he said.
The public hearing will be 6:30 p.m. Monday at the La Grange Utilities Commission, 203 S. Walnut St.