GCWD Milestones

In News by James Hale

There have been many milestone years for the Grayson County Water District. 1969 was the first. That’s the year a group of visionaries, led by Edwin Nichols, had the idea of safe affordable drinking water for the rural areas of Grayson County. The Fiscal Court passed a resolution officially creating the Grayson County Water District organized under KRS 74.010 and in the milestone year of 1974 the district began providing water to the county. Warren RECC was contracted to manage the water district. The next few years were fairly uneventful; the water district was growing at a steady pace. It enjoyed a very good relationship with Warren RECC and the other water districts operated by them –Warren, Butler, and Simpson County Water Districts.

In 1997 the water district board once again displayed exceptional wisdom and leadership when they elected to remain with Warren RECC while the other three water districts decided to strike out on their own and sever ties with Warren RECC. GCWD would look very different today if the board had decided otherwise.

Over the next several years GCWD experienced some of its most prolific growth. With the installation of new line extensions, addition of new meter services, and un-served areas wanting water service there was a need for more water. To this point, all water the District provided to its customers was purchased from Leitchfield Municipal Utilities. LMU was unable to supply the additional demand and growth would stop if the Water District was unable to find a source of water to satisfy the demand. The Water Board decided building its own water treatment plant was the best course of action for long-term fulfillment of the Water Districts Mission. In July 2002, the GCWD celebrated the opening of the Edwin Nichols Water Treatment Facility located in the Duff area of Rough River Lake.

Between 2002 and 2015 the water district saw very minimal growth but other regulatory challenges arose. With more stringent regulations regarding disinfection by-products the Water District started to explore treatment technologies to address these issues and to continue to provide safe clean affordable water. After much research the Water District chose to add Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) treatment and Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection to the treatment process. In 2013 the new processes went into service. They have proven very capable in exceeding the regulatory requirements for which they were installed. These treatment technologies will also provide a barrier to future emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and toxins related to algae.

2016 saw arguably the most significant milestone since the Water District’s inception. Warren RECC abruptly made the decision to void its operations contract with the Water District. With nothing more than water system infrastructure, some equipment and vehicles, and a handful of worried employees the Water District Board was again put to the test — deciding on a path forward. After studying the options, it was clear that the Water District personnel were more than able and eager to operate independently and continue the high level of service our customers had come to expect.

2017 was a very challenging year. Purchasing a site for a new office, building a new office, new customer information system, providing for the employees pay and benefits, new dispatching, communications, computer networking—we were basically starting from scratch. The Boards mission to guide us through the process was that customer service and water quality would not diminish, employee pay and benefits would remain at or near the same level if at all possible, and there would be no water rate increase for our customers as a result. To date, all those goals have been achieved.

On March 12th, 2018 the Water District opened the doors of its new office at 21 Shull White Rd in Leitchfield. The American Flag was raised and saluted by long time Board Chairman and Vietnam Veteran John Tomes. The move was a success with very few minor loose ends, likely the only difference our customers noticed was the drive to a different place to pay their water bill. Behind the scenes, however, the employees of the Water District worked tirelessly to insure a smooth transition.

The future of GCWD is very bright. Providing safe, clean, affordable water to our customers will continue to be our mission no matter what milestones lay ahead. The Board and employees of the Water District have proven themselves able to meet any challenge and you as a customer can rest assured that your drinking water is in very capable hands.