Monday, September 9, 2024
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location Name
Evolutionary Wastewater Master Planning

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) is a combined city-county government. The county is divided into two distinct areas: the Urban Service Area (USA) and the Rural Service Area (RSA). The USA is the central urban core of Lexington, while the RSA constitutes the surrounding agricultural farmland. LFUCG provides wastewater service within the USA, while areas within the RSA are served by on-site treatment facilities or private wastewater conveyance/transmission systems. Twelve areas within the RSA, totaling over 33,000 acres, were recently identified by LFUCG for potential inclusion into the USA. To accommodate future growth needs of the community, LFUCG set a goal to expand the USA by 2,700 to 5,000 acres. Consequently, not all twelve areas are to be added to the USA. However, the 2,700 to 5,000 acres will originate from the 33,000 acres that were preliminarily identified. Recommendations on which areas should or shouldn’t be added were assigned to an Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from community stakeholder and interested organizations, with LFUCG in-house resources providing technical assistance. Advisory Committee members were to consider a myriad of factors including: affordable and middle income housing needs, proximity to the existing USA boundary, frontage to major roadways, developability, integrity of agricultural land and, to a lesser extent, wastewater sewerability of the proposed expansion areas. The presentation will highlight the benefits and challenges in wastewater planning in a dynamic planning process, where the majority of decision makers are non-engineers/scientists, and wastewater sewerability is not the primary consideration. With each ebb and flow in the planning process, complex technical challenges had to be considered and evaluated to understand the impact from inclusion of competing areas. Additionally, potential connection points from proposed growth areas could have significant impact on the hydraulic capacity of the existing sewer system within the USA. As part of the process, LFUCG had to balance the needs of existing sewer customers versus those of new development. Further complicating the effort, design and construction of the sewer capital improvements required under LFUCG’s federal Consent Decree are ongoing. The impacts from potential growth areas, and the wastewater infrastructure necessary to serve those areas, on completed and remaining Remedial Measures Plan projects had to be evaluated. Long-term operation costs/efficiencies, as well as the avoidance of “double-pumping” of wastewater flows or other suboptimal solutions that arise from evolutionary wastewater expansion, also had to be considered. The authors believe that the lessons learned and experiences shared during the presentation would be of interest to utility owners and engineers who are confronted with similar challenges or are considering different wastewater master planning strategies.