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Deal with state, federal government would give Lexington until 2030 to finish court-ordered sewer improvements

Lexington's city council is expected to vote on a deal with the state and federal governments that would allow the city four more years to finish court-ordered sewer improvements.
Malcolm Stallons
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LFUCG
Lexington's city council is expected to vote on a deal with the state and federal governments that would allow the city four more years to finish court-ordered sewer improvements.

Lexington’s city council is expected to vote March 21 on a deal to give the city four more years to finish court-ordered improvements to its sanitary sewer system. In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department, working with the EPA and the state, mandated the improvements and set an end date of 2026. Division of Water Quality Director Charlie Martin has been with the city since 1999.

“It's fairly well known that when I came here that they had reoccurring sanitary sewer overflows that would – manholes that would pop every time it rained. We've come a long way since that time, and we don't have a lot of the overflowing manholes that we had in the past.”

Martin said if the council approves the deal, he’s confident the state and federal governments will accept it. He said the original estimate for improvements to the city’s sanitary sewer system was $600 million and he still hopes the final tally will be less.

“Currently, we projected that we would have spent $470 million; by this point, our actual expenses are $372 million.”

Martin acknowledged multiple sewer rate increases were needed to pay for the improvements. Lexington Environmental Quality & Public Works is a financial supporter of WEKU.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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