Central City Kentucky Water Treatment Plant was on the point of filling a major new demand when a change in federal rules took it away. That left the plant with greatly expanded capacity but not enough customers. At the same time, the attractiveness of employment in larger cities made it difficult for the plant, in western Kentucky, to find and retain qualified operators. With innovation and persistence, the Central City team faced the problems down and overcame them. The capacity issue and its associated issues are under control, and an effort to develop operator candidates locally has dramatically dropped the average age of the team. Along the way, the Central City team picked up the 2018 Drinking Water Plant of the Year award from the Kentucky Water and Wastewater Operators Association. In addition, the late Marvin “David” Dossett, the plant’s former lead operator, received the Kentucky Water and Wastewater Operators Association’s 2018 Earl T. Mitchell Award for his dedication and integrity. It was Mr. Dossett who began the program to develop a source of new operators. “Central City is a small town, but unfortunately we have a large plant that requires Class IVA operators,” says Ronald Mobley, chief operator. Under Kentucky regulations, that classification is at the top of the system and requires a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering along with a year’s experience in a large plant. The unfortunate part is Central City’s location: It’s only about an hour’s drive from Evansville, Indiana, and Paducah and Bowling Green, Kentucky. All are much larger cities with big plants and bigger budgets for salaries. Water for the Central City plant is drawn from an intake about a half-mile north of the plant on the Green River. Potassium permanganate is fed at the intake. A 20-inch pipe brings raw water to a three-compartment splitter box with flash mixers. Carbon comes in just before the splitter Combined with the local market, the upgraded and expanded plant produced the other major challenge for Central City. The plant serves almost all of Muhlenberg County through water districts that buy from the city.
In 2009, the city ran up against a development limit: The plant could meet existing demand but no more, and no new businesses or coal mines were allowed. So the city worked with rural development agencies to get funding and authorization to expand the plant to a design capacity of 7 MGD with an expected average of 5 MGD. As that was happening, the federal government began encouraging power plants to abandon coal and switch to natural gas. That greatly reduced demand for water from the water districts, which began aggressively following water-loss reduction programs. All this plus a slight rate increase dropped demand to about 3 MGD, where it is today. Unused capacity led to a problem: Violation of the limits on disinfection byproducts because water was sitting too long in the system.
Water & Sewer
214 North PO Box 430 Central City, KY 42330
O: (270) 754-3066
W: (270) 754-5160
S: (270) 754-1640
F: (270) 754-9711
Web: Web Address