Cedar Hills sewage project nearing completion

Joe Schepers

One-third of the more than 20,000 gallons of sewage produced daily by the Cedar Hills subdivision has been rerouted to the Regional Water Resource Agency's main plant.

With two-thirds of the flow still needing to be rerouted to secure Cedar Hill's sewage viability, RWRA officials feel confident that the project will be completed with the full discontinuance of the failing Cedar Hills Packaging Plant coming prior to Christmas, said Joe Schepers, RWRA executive director.

"One hundred percent of the flow prior to this project went through that failing packaging plant," he said. "For the past several weeks, we have had a third of it coming our way to the main plant. If all works out, the other two-thirds will be coming to us by Christmas. The liability is away and more importantly, the chance of the plant failing goes away. This is the best news we could have."

The Cedar Hills saga began when RWRA was granted receivership by a Franklin Circuit Court in September 2016 of it and another treatment facility at Friendly Park.

At that time, Scott Lewis, an Ohio County resident who has since been elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives, was the owner and operator of the sewage package plants in Friendly Park and Cedar Hills. Lewis filed abandonment, declaring that he could no longer financially support them. RWRA had to plan two quickly paced sewer extensions to those areas so residents wouldn't be forced to leave their homes in the event of failures at their respective plants.

The project was put on hold in early spring of this year because of two property owners who couldn't reach an agreement with the county on easement offers. After months of acquiring easements, negotiating with the two property owners and the project's design, RWRA, Daviess Fiscal Court and New Albany, Indiana-based MAC Construction & Excavating, who won the $1.6 million project bid, were able to move on with the project.

On June 25, RWRA officials and a representative from MAC held a meeting at Country Heights Elementary School with the owners of easements acquired by RWRA and the residents of the Cedar Hills area to discuss the costs associated with the project. As it stands, residents of Cedar Hills will see their current rate go from $55 a month to $110 or $120 for the duration of RWRA's 20-year project loan through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. After the loan is paid, the price will go back down to the standard rate.

As the tumultuous project nears completion, Schepers, along with Daviess County officials and the people of Cedar Hills can finally take a deep breath, Schepers said.

"This project has always been on my mind," he said. "Every time there is a bad storm, Friendly Park and Cedar Hills pops into your mind. Having these projects completed takes a lot of stress off of us. At any point, there could have been a catastrophic failure. Had that happened, you're talking major dollars to address that issue quickly. As it stands, we just need to coax another seven or eight days out of Cedar Hills, and we will be in high cotton. The important part is done and what will be next is the aesthetic part of fixing yards, which will take place in the spring."

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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