Barbourville currently treats 1.5 million gallons of water per day and serves over 5,000 customers in Barbourville and Knox County.
Water is pumped 24 miles from Laurel Lake to the Water Treatment Plant located in Heidrick. This state of the art facility has the capacity to treat over 4 million gallons of water per day. In addition to Laurel Lake water, the Cumberland River provides an emergency backup supply of water. Three employees operate the Water Treatment Plant along with one Lab Technician. All plant operators receive certification by the State Division of Water in the water treatment field.
In April 1940 the Utility Commission purchased the Water System for a cost of $90,000.
The Water System included one filtration plant on the banks of the Cumberland River and one storage tank located on Sampson hill. A new Water Treatment Plant was built in 1953 to accommodate an increased capacity and to allow for the construction of a Flood Levee. The Water Treatment plant had a capacity of 750,000 gallons per day when it was completed and a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons per day when it was shut down in the fall of 1994.
In the summer of 1993, the construction of a new Water Treatment Plant was initiated. This plant was completed in the fall of 1994 and currently provides all of the drinking water used in the Utility Commission’s water system. The new plant has a capacity of 4,000,000 gallons per day and cost $5,000,000 to construct. This plant is a state of the art facility and has received numerous awards, including the Kentucky League of Cities award for Outstanding Public Works Project and the AWWA’s award for Outstanding Water Plant Operations.
In 1985 a Raw Water pipe line was constructed extending 26 miles north to Laurel Lake, at a cost of $7,000,000. This pipe line provides a cleaner supply of raw water to Barbourville and a major portion of Knox County. The pipe line can provide up to 3,000,000 gallons per day of raw water.