Public Service Commission
PSC CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG SAYS COOPERATION NEEDED ON WATER AND WASTEWATER ISSUES
Water and wastewater utilities must work together to address the challenges posed by increased demand for services and aging infrastructure, Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman David Armstrong said this week.
Addressing the annual technical conference of the Kentucky Rural Water Association (KRWA) in Lexington, Armstrong said that cooperation among utilities and regionalization of services are especially important at a time of limited local, state and federal resources.
“We should all be open to finding ways to deliver services more efficiently and effectively, whether through consolidation or cooperation,” he said.
Armstrong noted that during his nine-year tenure as Jefferson County judge-executive, the Metropolitan Sewer District took over dozens of small wastewater treatment plants, many of which were operating inefficiently or polluting local streams. The results were a cleaner environment, fewer threats to public health and new opportunities for economic growth, he said.
Although regionalization of services can be difficult, and even controversial, it may become increasingly necessary as a way to stretch limited resources and avoid needless duplication, Armstrong said.
The PSC has long supported regionalization, he said, noting its approval earlier this year of the merger of four water districts in Graves County.
“Every citizen in Kentucky is entitled to a reliable supply of clean and safe drinking water,” Armstrong said. “Every community in this state needs effective wastewater treatment that protects its streams and groundwater. Both are essential to the public, environmental and economic health of this commonwealth.”
The PSC is engaged in several efforts to improve water and wastewater services, he said. The PSC’s staff facilitates a monthly meeting among local, state and federal entities involved in water and sewer service. The group’s efforts to streamline the planning, approval and funding of water and sewer facilities are an excellent example of collaboration, Armstrong said.
Another cooperative effort that has been successful is the training that the PSC and the KRWA provide for water utility personnel and commissioners, Armstrong said. It serves as “an excellent example of cooperation between regulators and the regulated community,” he said.
Noting that this year’s seminars are coming up in September and October, Armstrong urged anyone who would benefit from the training to make plans to attend.
Information on the training and the text of Armstrong’s speech are available on the PSC Web site, psc.ky.gov.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.