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SD1 responds to Report Card grading infrastructure: No surprises, aging infrastructure is major issue

The American Society of Civil Engineers Kentucky Section released an Infrastructure Report Card this week that gives Kentucky an overall grade of C- across 10 categories ranging from roads (D+) and bridges (C-) to wastewater (C-).

Click to see NKyTribune’s story on report card

The C- wastewater grade confirms what Sanitation District No. 1 and other agencies across the state have long been saying – aging infrastructure has become an issue that must be addressed in Northern Kentucky and across the Commonwealth.
The report card uses a number of grading criteria to determine the condition of Kentucky’s infrastructure, including capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resiliency and innovation. The C- grade means that Kentucky’s wastewater infrastructure is “in fair to good condition” but “shows signs of general deterioration and requires attention.”
SD1 Executive Director Adam Chaney said the grade should come as no surprise.

“We’ve worked hard in recent years to assess the health of our sewer system, and we know that many of our assets are nearing the end of their useful lives,” Chaney said. “The same is true all across the country.”
The report card notes that Kentucky’s treatment facilities are an average of 36 years old (SD1’s largest treatment plant, Dry Creek, which treats about 27 million gallons of water every day, turns 40 this year). Some of the pipes in Kentucky’s more than 20,000 miles of sewer pipe are more than 70 years old; when those pipes fail, it can result in public health risk, pollution and damaged property.
The report calls for a big picture approach to infrastructure investment that anticipates the challenges of tomorrow while addressing the problems of today.
Chaney said that is the approach SD1 is taking as it plans for the next 20 years.

“SD1 must continually balance the realities of aging infrastructure, environmental regulations and community growth when developing its long-term rate strategies,” he said.
The Report Card cited a 2012 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey that indicated $6.2 billion in needs for wastewater projects in Kentucky and concluded that aging wastewater infrastructure and a lack of funding needed to implement all necessary improvements are a concern.

See the NKyTribune’s story about the report card here.

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