South Shore awarded $8.5M loan

Jul. 12—The Kentucky Infrastructure Authority announced the City of South Shore has been awarded an $8.5 million Fund F loan for the South Shore to Portsmouth Permanent Interconnect project.

In all, according to South Shore Mayor Cheryl Moore, the project has an estimated cost of $16 million. South Shore was previously approved for an additional $7.5 million loan, according to the KIA's website, but those funds — dated for the 2024 fiscal year — aren't committed yet.

The loans are fully forgiven, according to Moore.

The KIA's board of directors announced the decision to award the $8.5 loan on July 6. It was documented in a letter to Rep. Danny Bentley dated July 7.

According to the letter, the city's wells have become contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and some are experiencing failure.

"Based upon legislative appropriations for drinking water and clean water programs, along with your efforts, I am pleased to inform you that the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority has taken action at the July 6 board meeting to provide subsidized loans for the project," read the letter to Bentley.

"This funding is coming through at the right time," Moore said. "It's a big deal because we need the water really bad."

According to the KIA loan number, the inability to construct a new treatment plant has created the need to connect with an existing system capable of providing the quantity of potable water to serve the city's entire system. According to KIA, about 13,000 linear feet of 20-inch water line will be constructed underneath the Ohio River bedrock and connect into Portsmouth. Two booster pump stations will be built and various line replacements will be made in order to distribute water throughout the system.

For now, according to Moore, there's a temporary line running across the bridge.

KIA stated that an interconnect to the Ohio city is necessary because there is no other viable option.

"We need the water supply and Portsmouth is the only one that can supply us," Moore said. "It's a major project."

The project's bidding process will likely begin in August, Moore said.

The City of South Shore serves 2,325 residential customers and 176 commercial and industrial customers, according to KIA.

A Fund F loan is part of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, provided in part from a federally funded capitalization grant through EPA with a required 20% state match.

"We have received relief from KIA Kentucky for this project," Bentley said. "Good water is essential for healthy humans and livestock. It is required to encourage business. This endeavor with the recently announced water project for Siloam will guarantee good, fresh water for generations to come for the people of western Greenup County.

"Thanks to Judge-Executive (Bobby) Hall, Mayor Moore, KIA, Honorable Dennis Keene, Honorable Rocky Adkins, the Governor and the Commonwealth of Kentucky for helping with this process," Bentley added.

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