The Paintsville City Council received some welcome news at its regular meeting Monday: The freeze on adding new taps to Paintsville Utilities’ sewer lines, imposed by the state Division of Water, has been lifted.

The freeze had been in place because readings of the utility’s main sewer treatment plant had been at or over capacity, in large part due to storm water getting into sewer lines and unnecessarily adding to treatment costs. Following major work with the utility’s inflow and infiltration project to sleeve deteriorated sewer lines and keep storm water out, manager Bob Pack said the utility had seen progress.

“The I&I project had some good hits, the flow went down and things looked good,” Pack said.

However, later readings from the digital flow meter showed a seeming disparity, leading Pack to have manual measurements taken showing flow was less than the meter indicated.

Pack took his evidence to the Division of Water.

“They didn’t have to meet with us, but we’ve been upfront with them from day one about the good, the bad and the ugly,” Pack said.

The Division of Water agreed with their findings, and lifted the freeze, meaning new taps can be issued and new construction will no longer require using an existing sewer tap.

The development comes at a time when Paintsville Utilities is also making inroads on a separate project, seeking grant funding to construct new sewer lines out of town and along U.S. 23 near Hagerhill. That project would help further balance flows between the two treatment plants the utility operates, and bolster economic development with its own new opportunities for construction. That grant is being sought jointly with the City of Paintsville, the Johnson County Fiscal Court, Paintsville Utilities and the Paintsville/Johnson County Economic Development Authority.

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