Murray city leaders will break ground Thursday on a $61 million wastewater treatment plant expansion.

Upgrades at the Bee Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will cause city water and wastewater bills to double over the next three years, but Mayor Jack Rose says the expansion is necessary to bring the plant up to Environmental Protection Agency and Kentucky Division of Water standards.

Matthew Bowden, Wikimedia Commons

Murray City Council has passed the first reading of a proposal that would, over three years, nearly double  water and wastewater rates.

City Finance Director Alan Lanier says average water bills run at about $7 and wastewater at nearly $13.50.

Roundabout U/Murray State University

Murray Mayor-elect Jack Rose has several large projects he plans to tackle once he begins his first term, including expanding the city’s wastewater capacity and rebuilding downtown.

Rose says the largest project for the city monetarily is updates to the sewer system that the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated. The project includes four different updates at Bee Creek and Clarks River with an estimated cost of $50 million, $13 million more than the initial estimate.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s proposed policy change to allow the transport of hydraulic fracturing wastewater on rivers has some environmental groups voicing opposition, citing safety concerns. The Kentucky Waterways Alliance says the wastewater might be too hazardous.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

The U.S. Coast Guard is considering a policy change to allow the transport of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on inland waterways.

Oil and gas companies currently transport most of their wastewater by truck from the shale fields in Ohio and Pennsylvania to states with lighter regulations on storage, like Texas and Louisiana.

Now companies want to take the river route to save on fuel and personnel costs. But chemicals and other minerals in the wastewater could prove too risky to move by barge.