Thursday, May 24, 2001

Cincinnati agrees to sell water to Boone; Lexington left dry

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — Don't look for the city of Cincinnati to pump water to parched Lexington anytime soon.

        Boone County and Florence are to begin purchasing their water from Cincinnati in 2003 when a 42-inch water main is completed under the Ohio River. Boone County expects to take about 30 million gallons a day from Cincinnati.

        Cincinnati and Boone County water officials were talking for nearly a year with Kentucky American Water Co., which supplies water to Lexington, about extending the water line through Grant and Scott counties to Fayette County. The Lexington area has experienced drought conditions in the summer for several years.

        Boone water officials say with bids expected to go out for construction of the water main under the river in July and work started shortly thereafter, time had run out on the possibility of altering the plans to include Lexington.

        Ron Crume, chairman of the board of the water commission overseeing the deal with Cincinnati, Boone County and Florence, indicated that Lexington was not in the picture at this point. Those communities are putting all their efforts into completing the water line and pumping facility for the 2003 start.

        Officials pointed to two significant problems with extending the line to Lexington:

        • The additional cost of a larger main to handle the additional water, estimated at more than $7 million.

        • The need to establish a separate water district board for Grant and Scott counties.

        Lexington's Urban County Council has said it favors looking at solutions within the commonwealth of Kentucky, including additional intake valves along the Kentucky River — Lexington's current water source — and possible pipelines from Louisville, Cave Run Lake or Lake Cumberland.

        Cincinnati Water Works Director David Rager said the water works is constructing a pumping station on the Kentucky shore of the river near Anderson Ferry. It will link to the new water main under the river and pump the Cincinnati water into Boone County mains.

        Boone County purchases its water from the Northern Kentucky Water Service District. However, the county and Florence made the decision about three years ago to purchase water from Cincinnati because the rates were lower.


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