A new study has revealed that Cane Run, a creek that runs through northern Fayette County and southern Scott County, is contaminated. The creek is a tributary that ultimately feeds into Scott County’s freshwater supply and Scott County officials are cracking down to fix the problem.
The study was completed by Third Rock Consultants, a Lexington-based consulting service that provides ecological surveys and water quality monitoring. The consultants were hired by the Kentucky Division of Water and took water samples along the Cane Run Watershed during the summers of 2015 and 2016 for the study.
The full report will not be released until at least the end of September, but the consultants were able trace the E. coli contamination to two failed package sewage treatment plants at Georgetown Mobile Estates, according to a press release from the city of Georgetown. Recent estimates suggest about 2,000 people live in Georgetown Mobile Estates, which is located on U.S. 25 on the Scott-Fayette County line, the release reads. The former owner of the estate, Daniel Sexton, is serving nine years in prison for bank fraud and the estate is now owned by an investment firm. The wastewater treatment systems in the park have been neglected for 15 years, the release reads.
Georgetown, Scott County, and the Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer Service have developed a plan to install a pump station and sewer lines to Georgetown Mobile Estates, according to the press release. The project is expected to cost $3.5 to 4 million.
Residents of Georgetown Mobile Estates may have to move if certain steps are taken, such as an injunction being filed against continued operation of the parks’ package treatment plants.
Mayor Tom Prather said the pollution in the water is a serious issue facing Scott County.
“We’re talking about a humanitarian crisis here,” Prather said in the release. “It isn’t fair to the 2,000 residents of the trailer parks, and it isn’t fair to the tens of thousands of residents of Georgetown and Scott County who rely on the Cane Run Creek for clean drinking water.”
Georgetown Mobile Estates is also seeking to renew its sewer discharge permit from the Kentucky Division of Water and Scott County leaders are pushing for the state Division of Water to not renew Georgetown Mobile Estates’ permit.
The Georgetown City Council has passed a resolution calling for the Kentucky Division of Water to deny the reissue of Georgetown Mobile Estate’s sewer discharge permit and a similar resolution is on the agenda for a Scott County Fiscal Court meeting on Friday.
“We are unconditionally opposed to the issuance of a permit in the face of clear evidence that the property is in violation of the Clean Water Act,” said Scott County Judge-Executive George Lusby in the release.
The Lexington Herald-Leader submitted a request for the study through the Open Records Act and anticipates receiving a preliminary version of the study on Sept. 6.