The Farmdale Sanitation District is one step closer to receiving an upgrade that officials say will open the area to industrial and residential development.
A little more than a year ago, the Frankfort City Commission voted on a non-binding letter of intent to accept sewage from the Farmdale Sanitation District.
Pretty soon, the city commission will vote on an interlocal agreement to allow FSD to hook its sewage system to the city’s system. But until then, the city commission unanimously passed a resolution confirming an interlocal agreement is in the works.
FSD was formed in 2004 by the Franklin County Fiscal Court. Since then, the district has faced serious issues, including at least one instance of an overflowing manhole spilling sewage into a Farmdale resident’s lawn into a nearby creek in 2018.
Today the district, which encompasses the area along U.S. 127 in southwestern Franklin County, serves 1,074 customers.
Alan Alsip, chairman of the sanitation district’s board, said there are industries interested in developing the area. He said he receives at least one phone call a month from someone asking when the district plans to connect to the city’s sewer treatment system.
At a Frankfort City Commission meeting on March 9, Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells said the interlocal agreement will be a great thing for the community.
“This will provide a sewer program through the city that will allow growth,” Wells said. “That will allow new development that will be unheard of in a county as large as us that will be new.”
Wells said everyone will work together to make sure the growth is done properly.
“As you know, growth doesn’t happen without sewers,” he added.
Wells said the area will need access roads and fewer redlights to also make the area work for growth.
Kentucky Capital Development Corp. President and CEO Terri Bradshaw said the lack of access to city sewer in the county is a major concern for developers and opening up the Farmdale district to city sewer is “definitely a good thing.”
“It opens up more property for future development,” Bradshaw said.
KCDC has spent some time in the last year researching ways for Franklin County to be more attractive for residential and industrial development, she added.
From 2010 to 2018, Franklin County issued 360 single family dwelling permits as opposed to Shelby County’s 1,639 and Scott County’s 3,155, Bradshaw said.
In talking with developers, many told KCDC the sewer qualifications to build a home in the county is a huge expense.
Bradshaw said opening up more of the county to city sewer will add growth therefore increasing the tax base.
“Anytime we can look for ways to increase our tax base it's positive for us,” Bradshaw said.
Alsip said more than a decade ago, FSD’s original intent was to build its own sewer treatment plant after plans to build a sewer line to connect to the city’s Kentucky Avenue pump station fell through.
The cost to build the sewer line was too expensive, so Farmdale residents have continued to use 50-year-old small package treatment plants.
Alsip said when the sanitation district was formed, the once privately owned plants were in terrible shape. Since then, FSD has made costly repairs to the small package treatment plants to keep them functioning until something more permanent could be done.
The city has made changes and upgrades to its system that now make it possible for FSD to hook up to the city’s sewer system, according to Alsip.
Frankfort City Manager Keith Parker said the details of the interlocal agreement are still being worked out.
Alsip said FSD won’t know how much it will take to upgrade the district’s infrastructure and how much grant money they are going to request from the EPA until the city decides how much it will cost Farmdale to hook its sewer line to the new consolidated pump station.
“The Sewer Department will charge Farmdale just as it does any other customer. The rates and terms will be set by the interlocal agreement,” Ken Hogsten, director of the Frankfort Sewer Department said.
The parties involved in the interlocal agreement include FSD, the city and county, Hogsten added. Then the Division of Water will need to approve the agreement.
Monday night’s resolution was needed to show the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the interlocal agreement is being drafted in order to have access to grant money. The EPA gave FSD a March 30 deadline, Alsip said.
The EPA grant money will go toward paying for the infrastructure needed to hook FSD’s sewer system to the city’s. FSD will be responsible for paying for the infrastructure upgrades. Those upgrades will connect to the city’s new consolidated pump station.
Hogsten said work on building a $10 million consolidated pump station on the west side of Frankfort has already begun.
The exact location of the consolidated pump station is still being negotiated with the property owner, Hogsten added. Until that agreement is finalized, he cannot share the location.
The design and construction phases will take 24 to 30 months to complete.
Alsip said the upgrades to the FSD will also bring the district up to EPA standards.
Over the years, the district has faced some issues, but he hopes the relationship with the city, county, EPA, Division of Water will finally put the project into motion after being delayed for more than a decade.
Alsip said U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., who represents Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, has also agreed to help the district in its EPA grant application process.