While other counties in Eastern Kentucky are either restructuring government in closed sessions or members of the fiscal court are bickering on local editorial pages, we’re reminded this week that here in Perry County some positive things are taking place. One of the most promising projects announced recently is the wastewater treatment plant set to serve the Chavies community.
This plant has been in the works for a long time, and deservedly so. Perhaps the most positive aspect of this plant is something Bobby Brown, chairman of the sanitation board overseeing the project, noted this week, namely that this project will remove straight pipes currently discharging raw sewage into our waterways.
For all the attention paid to the effect of coal mining on local waters, little to none has been paid to the issue of straight pipes. For those who may not know, straight pipes are long pipes running from a home to the ground or into a nearby creek of river. The pipe carries the home’s sewage or gray water directly with no filtration or any kind of buffer between the home and the stream.
Without surprise, this practice is illegal, though some homes in the region do still utilize this method.
The wastewater treatment plant in Chavies will at first serve around 60 homes, according to Chairman Brown, and some of those likely employ a straight pipe, though admittedly there is no count no how many straight pipes are in the area. According to our own reporting in 2011, the state or any other government doesn’t bother to take a count of such things.
Eliminating the problem of straight piping in Eastern Kentucky is difficult, a state official told us two years ago, because no reports are being made to enforcement agencies about where straight pipes are being used. This treatment plant will bypass that particular difficulty for that part of the county, and even beyond as new lines are installed toward Highway 15.
Ultimately, we are encouraged about what we’re hearing from local agencies. We can also look forward to a new regional animal shelter near Chavies, and even preliminary work has begun on the possibility of a new water treatment plant in Buckhorn.
So, while employment remains high and some areas of the county remain in desperate need of water service, at the very least the people of Perry County can expect some other services coming their way. In this case, and in light of a poor economy and problems other counties face, we’re considering that an encouraging sign.
— The Hazard Herald