Kentucky American Water Completes Wastewater Plant Improvement Project in Owenton

LEXINGTON, Ky., (June 5, 2020) – Kentucky American Water has completed a two-year improvement project at its wastewater treatment plant in Owenton, Ky. The result of the project, which cost more than $3.6 million for site prep work and upgrades, will be a facility that, although more than 30 years old, is now more efficient and reliable. The project is also projected to help extend the life of the facility by at least two decades.

The project started in the spring of 2018 and involved replacing the liner in the 34-year-old facility’s lagoon, which is a 120,000-square-foot, 30-feet-deep, man-made pond capable of holding 7 million gallons of water and used in the process of breaking down waste matter. Naturally occurring bacteria drive the process in the lagoon, with the sun and wind also playing significant roles. Instead of replacing the existing liner with a new one, the company replaced it with a new membrane plus an additional liner, which promises to provide more protection against leakage of matter into groundwater and surface water sources. The project promises to help the facility meet the community’s wastewater treatment needs for at least another 25 years.

While the project got off to a good start, the record-breaking rainfall of 2018 – contributing to a total of 70 inches of rainfall throughout the life of the project – created challenges in keeping the lagoon area drained to accommodate work. The wet weather resulted in multiple delays as well as numerous unforeseen needs to mitigate the excessive rain’s impact on the property, such as constructing a drainage line to the temporary tanks used while the lagoon was out of service for a longer-than-expected period of time.

In addition to the new liners, the project also included first cleaning out the lagoons of existing matter, grading around the lagoon to prevent drainage from neighboring properties going into it, upgrading pumps and electrical components, rehabilitating pumphouse aerators and upgrading a nitrification tower on site.

“While this project certainly had its share of challenges due to the excessive rainfall of 2018, our contractors and employees did a phenomenal job working through these issues, and in the end, we are pleased with the results of their collective efforts,” said Cole Mitcham, senior project engineer for Kentucky American Water, who managed the project. “Owenton’s wastewater facility is now a more modern and efficient plant that will help provide reliable, quality service to customers for many more years to come.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically recognize employees Keith Buffin, Marshall Gibson and Sam Schmidt, all of whom were tremendously helpful throughout this project,” Mitcham said. “Their knowledge and experience contributed greatly to troubleshooting challenges and seeking the most efficient and cost-effective solutions. It was a great team effort.”

About Kentucky American Water
Kentucky American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately half a million people. Visit and follow Kentucky American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About American Water
With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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