Fayette County

Lexington awards $90,000 for neighborhood water quality projects

More than $90,000 was awarded to various neighborhood groups by Mayor Jim Newberry on Wednesday for projects to improve water quality in Lexington.

The water-quality incentive grant program was created last year by the Urban County Council.

The six neighborhood projects selected involve ideas such as rain gardens, education workshops and stream cleaning. The applicants are required to match the grants, either through cost sharing or volunteer sweat equity.

The program to improve storm water quality is part of a proposed legal agreement that resulted when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sued the city for violating the federal Clean Water Act in 2006.

The grants are funded by a water-quality fee that was implemented in January. The fee is $4.32 per month for single-family homes and $4.32 for every 2,500 square feet of impervious surface at apartment complexes and non-residential properties.

The fees, which the city anticipated would bring in about $12 million a year, fund efforts to monitor storm sewers and improve quality in creeks and streams. More grants to neighborhoods, businesses, churches and schools will be awarded later in the year, officials said.