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Kentucky Needs $15 Billion To Fix Aging Drinking Water, Sewer Systems

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In Kentucky, about half of all the infrastructure in place for water and sewers is past its design life. 

“There’s a lot of investment that’s needed” 

That’s Deputy Cabinet Secretary Bruce Scott speaking to the to the Senate standing committee on natural resources Monday. 

“We really can’t do anything we can’t have economic development, we can’t do the things we want to quality of life if we don’t have investments in those areas,” 

Scott says Kentucky needs to invest nearly $15 billion over the next 20 years to improve drinking water and sewer systems, and dams. 

That’s because the systems are getting older and a lot of communities have kicked the can down the road when it comes to regular maintenance. 

Scott says current investments aren’t enough and the state needs to take a proactive approach or risk paying more when these systems fail.  That would mean more roads dug up to fix busted water pipes, and more streams overflowing with waste from sewer overflows. 

Division of Water director Peter Goodman says about half of all the state’s drinking water and sewer systems are past their design life. 

“There is infrastructure in the ground that is not ideal and there is infrastructure in the ground that’s creating problems for small systems, for all systems, but a lot of towns are doing it in a reactive fashion instead of a planned fashion.” 

The cabinet asked a state Senate committee Monday to establish a “Water Infrastructure Fund” to provide investment in communities facing infrastructure challenges.

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