Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Addresses Albany Water Issues During Visit to Clinton County

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 16, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Lanny Brannock

Also awards surprise funding for new county ambulance

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Albany this afternoon to tour the Cagle’s Keystone Foods factory and to address with local officials the urgent water situation the city and Clinton County face. The water problems are the result of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to lower Lake Cumberland to 680 feet above sea level to make structural repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.

On Friday, Governor Fletcher signed an executive order establishing a funding framework to address immediate public safety concerns and other harmful effects caused by the lowering of Lake Cumberland and safety concerns with Wolf Creek Dam

“The draw down of Lake Cumberland has presented numerous challenges in several Kentucky counties, and officials in Albany know this as well as anyone,” said Governor Fletcher. “From the beginning, my administration has focused on making sure communities like this one are safe and have uninterrupted water and utility services. That focus has not changed.”

The lake has been lowered to 680 feet above sea level. This is close to the level at which public water intakes and wastewater discharges will be out of the water. Some private wells already are dry or nearly dry.

The Corps has twice informed water utilities in writing that the lake could be lowered even further at the end of the year – possibly as low as 650 feet above sea level.

“If the lake drops any more, our water intake would be sucking mud,” Albany Mayor Nicky Smith said. “We aren’t as worried about the lake being lowered 30 feet by the end of the year. We won’t be able to treat water if the lake drops another 5 feet. We need to move our intakes now.”

The city of Albany has submitted a plan to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to extend water intakes to an area of the lake that will ensure the water supply is not interrupted. The plan is under review by the cabinet’s Division of Water.

“Our Division of Water has provided technical assistance to the municipal water systems, all of which plan to move or extend their intakes,” said Governor Fletcher. “The division is working with Albany’s engineering firm (Monarch Engineering) to make certain the hydrological issues are addressed in the plans. We are working diligently to make sure Albany has water should the lake be lowered even further.”

“The people of south central Kentucky appreciate Governor Fletcher’s attention to the issues of safety and economic viability of the area caused by the Wolf Creek Dam situation,” said Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville).

The Division of Water has already approved plans by Somerset and Monticello to modify and extend water intakes.

$50,000 to purchase new ambulance

Governor Fletcher also made a surprise ceremonial check presentation of $50,000 in state funds to the Clinton County Fiscal Court for the purchase of a new ambulance. The old ambulance, a 1997 model, has reached 200,000 miles, and with multiple maintenance issues has become unreliable.