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A proposed pipeline that would take a Louisville Water Co. line to Frankfort, via Ky. 53 along I-64 in Shelby County is continuing to move forward. The project calls for a 24-inch pipeline that can provide 10 million gallons of water a day to the communities along its proposed route adjacent to the I-64 right-of-way where officials say there will be minimal impact on privately owned land or undeveloped areas.
Vince Guenthner, manager of government affairs for the Louisville Water Company, said Monday a contract is expected to be awarded for the design of the project by the end of February.
"Each of the parties have expressed interest and support for the Louisville Water pipeline," Guenthner said. "Still, the portion from Shelbyville to Frankfort has to be funded, but we're very, very optimistic and with the level of support that has been expressed, we absolutely believe this line will be built."
Currently, there are six parties involved in the project and they include: Shelbyville Water and Sewer, North Shelby Water Co., U.S. 60 Water District, West Shelby Water District, Frankfort Plant Board and Louisville Water Co.
"Each of the parties have contributed money so we are doing the design," Guenthner said.
The Louisville Water Company has committed to building the pipeline to Ky. 53 at the Shelbyville exit at an estimated cost of $25 million, Guenthner said. However, the additional $25 million that it's expected to cost to complete construction from Shelbyville to Frankfort must still be funded, he said.
Exactly who or where the rest of the money will come from has yet to be determined.
Guenthner said those funds could be acquired through grants or loans depending on how much ownership of the project each utility company wants.
"We're just very excited about this partnership," Guenthner said. "We think it's a great regional opportunity."
If everything goes as planned, officials estimate the new pipeline could be up and running by 2010.
Shelby County joined forces with the city of Shelbyville, and Frankfort government entities to endorse the pipeline project last December.
Tom Doyle, manager of the Shelbyville Water and Sewer Commission, told Fiscal Court the only thing Louisville Water is asking is for a minimum commitment to 2 million gallons a day from Shelby and Franklin County water districts. With the frequent drought experiences, Doyle said it would be smart to tap into an alternative water supply while there's an opportunity to do so.
The proposed pipeline would provide an additional and alternative water supply for the county to Guist Creek Lake in eastern Shelby County which is the only direct source of water to many residents of the county, including residents of Shelbyville.
A 2007 summer drought caused the lake to hit one of its lowest all time levels in October and prompted water restrictions in parts of the county.
"Shelby County residents need a safe, reliable, high-quality water supply," said county Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger. "The pipeline, along with improvements to the local distribution system, will provide that additional supply even during a prolonged drought."
Mayor Tom Hardesty also favors the project.
"The city of Shelbyville is very excited and supportive of this regional water supply solution," Hardesty said.
Officials estimate the six water utility companies involved in the project provide water to more than one million residents and businesses in Shelby, Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, Franklin, Spencer, Scott and Woodford counties.