Prior to the construction of the Jackson County Water Treatment Plant and distribution system, water supplies came from wells, cisterns, and treated water hauled from the City of McKee. Local wells were generally shallow located in low lying areas and were subject to flooding and contamination from surface water, outside toilets and septic tanks making them a serious health hazard. A safe and reliable water system is the first consideration for improvement in the economy and protection of public health.
In 1969 after several meetings of interested citizens a water and gas district was formed. Wendell Flannery was elected Chairman, Odis Johnson was Vice President and Alfred May was Secretary and Treasurer. The Board of Directors of the water and gas district immediately began trying to secure funding for the project. Applications for funding were presented to the Economic Development Administration and the Farmers Home Administration Funding was secured from both agencies in May and July of 1971. The total estimated cost of the project was $1,216,000.00.
Final plans and specifications were prepared as quickly as possible, and a bid opening of April 27, 1972 was scheduled. Bids were opened April 27, 1972 and the project began on July 26, 1972. There were approximately 44 miles of water line constructed in the Sand Gap, Waneta, Bradshaw, Gray Hawk, Tyner and Annville areas of the county to serve approximately 518 customers. A 367,000 gallon per day water treatment plant was constructed to furnish water to the system. The source of raw water for this treatment plant was from a lake just above the treatment plant. This lake was designed and built by the State of Kentucky, just before the water system was built. The water system was dependent upon this lake being built. The lake covers approximately 90 acres.
Since the inception of the Jackson County Water Association the utility has grown from 44 miles of water main to approximately 350 miles, serving 5,000 customers. To keep up with the increasing need for water a new 2.25 MGD state of art water treatment plant was constructed and put on line in 2005.
A raw water transmission line to the Rockcastle River was completed in 2012. The Jackson County Water Association will be able to supply safe reliable water to the citizens and industries of Jackson County for many years to come.