News

Kentucky Infrastructure Report Card Confirms that Aging Wastewater Infrastructure 'Requires Attention'

02/08/2019 -

FORT WRIGHT, Ky. – 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-). 

The C- grade confirms what Sanitation District No. 1 and other wastewater 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.

The complete 2019 Kentucky Infrastructure Report Card is available at https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/kentucky.


About SD1

SD1 is responsible for the collection and treatment of northern Kentucky’s wastewater and also serves as the regional storm water management agency. SD1 is the second largest public sewer utility in Kentucky, serving more than 290,000 residents throughout Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. SD1 maintains approximately 1,600 miles of sanitary-sewer system pipeline, 135 wastewater pumping stations, 15 flood pump stations, six package treatment plants, three major wastewater treatment plants, 416 miles of storm-sewer system and 31,106 storm-sewer structures.


About ASCE-Kentucky

Established in 1936, the ASCE Kentucky Section has five active branches covering all of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Civil engineers in Kentucky join ASCE to develop leadership skills, enhance their knowledge of the latest technology and engineering practices, and to network with other civil engineering professionals. The ASCE Kentucky Section promotes the profession by offering annual scholarships to deserving students pursuing a career in Civil Engineering. The Section also hosts an annual Civil Engineering Conference to advance the knowledge of its members and to honor outstanding individuals and projects. ASCE Members advocate for infrastructure and environmental stewardship which will lead to a better quality of life for all Kentuckians.


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