Sanitary sewer upgrades coming along for mobile home communities

Published 5:00 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

Those driving along Rockwell Road may notice an undertaking near the Rockwell Village Mobile Home Park and Yorktowne Mobile Estates Association.

Their eyes have not deceived them.

A sanitary sewer project, comprising a package plan in multiple phases, is underway in Winchester. In doing so, it will provide better access to sewage treatment and more for residents of Rockwell Village and Yorktowne on Mt. Vernon Drive, as well as the Verna Hills subdivision.

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“The purpose in need [is] the removal of three existing, aging package plants,” said District 5 Magistrate Chris Davis. “You have the one at Yorktowne. You have the one at Rockwell Village that Kentucky American [Water] is going to need to do something with … And then you have the Vernon Hills package plant.”

The Yorktowne Village plant and the one near Verna Hills are both described as being constructed between 40 to 50 years ago, thus being well beyond their recommended age. Rockwell Village inherited an older package plant when they bought what was formerly the Boonesboro Water District in the 1990s.

Package plants are prefabricated, decentralized water treatment systems.

Structural issues and more threaten to decrease quality. This could lend itself to negative consequences.

“We don’t want that package plant to fail, and then that sewage potentially go into Hancock Creek that runs right along Yorktowne,” Davis said regarding the Yorktowne package plant. “That could be an environmental catastrophe.”

A preliminary cost estimate in the fall of 2021 listed the price of all three phases to be approximately $6.7 million.

However, because of inflation and other causes, a more recent estimate in June of this past year showed that the project was estimated at $8.9 million.

While these pose a challenge, there are alternative solutions.

For example, at an August 2022 meeting of the Fiscal Court, a project involving short-term connection costs to Kentucky American Water came out with a cost estimate of $3 million.

Though negotiations are yet to take place, the early estimate shows how the process continues to develop.

During the process, several grants have been under consideration.

Although it is yet to be received as of August 2022, $600,000 has been awarded from the state for planning and design services.

Also, a second round of clean water funds was divided equally between Winchester Municipal Utilities and East Clark County Water District.

With approximately $748,000 contributed, $1.3 million should be available in clean water funds for the project.

A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is also being sought.

Following multiple consultations and to help get a CDBG, Davis made a motion at a recent fiscal court meeting for $3 million in ARPA funds to be transferred to the Clark County Sanitation District.

After being seconded, a 4-3 vote approved the motion.

“This could help with the CDBG application because this shows that the county really has put some skin in the game,” Davis said. “I’m a believer that … A fundamental role of especially local government is to maintain the infrastructure and provide the necessary infrastructure for people. That’s a key reason we’re doing this.”

Meetings continue to take place as the project is under future development.

However, steps continue to be taken with the goal in mind to reduce further issues.

“I don’t want the fiscal court or county government to be in a place where it looks like we just sat on our hands and did nothing,” said Davis.