Kentucky’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, a step forward in improving water quality

The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has released an update to Kentucky’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The plan will prioritize investments and encourage cooperative efforts to decrease excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that fuel harmful algal blooms (HABs) in rivers, lakes, and streams, and contribute to the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” or hypoxic zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

Pollution and excessive nutrients are a growing water quality concern throughout Kentucky and the U.S. that can impose significant costs to drinking water utilities, lost revenue from recreational tourism, and smaller harvests for fishermen.

Along with 11 other states and five federal agencies which make up the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Hypoxia Task Force (the “Hypoxia Task Force” or HTF), Kentucky has committed to develop a state specific strategy to address nutrients. Kentucky began its initial efforts to reduce nutrient loading to its waterways through the 2014 Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).

The updated plan, which also includes an interactive story map, provides a framework that is tailored to Kentucky’s unique geological, agricultural, and hydrologic landscape, and improves on progress made since 2014. The strategy includes point and non-point source water improvement efforts, education and outreach, monitoring and assessment, local engagement, reporting practices and more.

As part of a data-driven plan to prioritize available resources, more than 40 years of water monitoring data was used to create Nutrient Priority Areas (see map below), which balance the needs of drinking water sources, open water recreation, and areas with greater nutrient concentrations (i.e., high yield watersheds).

As a result, state funding applicants in these Nutrient Priority Areas will rank higher on grant and loan applications through DOW’s 319 Grant Program and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program. Likewise, agriculture proposals will rank higher with the Division of Conservation’s (DOC) State Cost Share Program. Farmer applications may also receive a higher cost share rate for  installing conservation practices from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in source water portions of the Nutrient Priority Areas.

New funding sources such as the Gulf Hypoxia Program will build on collaborative progress between DOW, DOC, and NRCS to prevent erosion, improve wastewater treatment, and empower local communities in these priority areas. To maximize water quality improvements, DOW will continue to collaborate with federal, state, and local agencies, universities, citizen groups, and non-profit organizations.

More information on the draft Nutrient Reduction Strategy Update can be found at, including interactive story maps and actions that minimize nutrient loss.


Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Authority to Meet August 25

Meeting begins at 1 p.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2022) 
– The Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Authority will meet August 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern time in the Saddle and Sirloin Club, located on the upper level of South Wing C at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.


  • Welcome
  • Roll call of authority members
  • Introduction of guests
  • Approval of minutes from May 5, 2022
  • Old business
  • New business
  • Subcommittee reports
    • Kasm
    • Farmstead
    • Pesticides, fertilizers and other agriculture chemicals
    • Livestock and poultry
    • Crops
    • Silviculture
    • Streams and other waters
    • Education and outreach
  • Quarterly update of AWQA related violations
  • Updates from members
  • Adjourn


Drinking Water Treatment Facilities Recognized

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) recognized Kentucky drinking water treatment facilities that achieved optimization goals even more stringent than those required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By doing so, these facilities have voluntarily met the goals of the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) in 2021.

Drinking water systems utilize AWOP tools and methods to increase protection for consumers. In particular, AWOP emphasizes the reduction of turbidity and disinfection by-products (DBPs). Turbidity, or cloudiness, is a measurement of particles in water including soil, algae, bacteria, viruses, organic material, and other substances. DBPs are compounds that form when chlorine (used for disinfection) reacts with organic material in water.

“Forty-six systems who voluntarily participated in the AWOP exceeded their goals, producing water that goes above and beyond federal regulations for drinking water,” said Alicia Jacobs, the Division of Water Drinking Water branch manager. “As both a regulator and a citizen of the Commonwealth, I appreciate the commitment these water facilities have towards protecting the health of the public by working to exceed Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.”

Two drinking water treatment plants received the AWOP Champion Award, which recognizes water systems that achieved AWOP standards for three years in a row, taking into account the high level of turbidity optimization achieved.

  • Lawrenceburg Water and Sewer Department received the 2021 Champion Award for large systems (designed to treat 3 million or more gallons of water per day).
  • Monroe County Water District received the 2021 Champion Award for small systems (designed to treat less than 3 million gallons of water per day).

Sixteen AWOP drinking water plants earned special recognition for achieving AWOP turbidity goals 100 percent of the time in 2021:

  • Columbia / Adair County Water Commission
  • Hardin County Water District #2 Plant A
  • Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Kentucky American Water Plant C
  • Kentucky State Penitentiary
  • Laurel County Water District #2
  • Lawrenceburg Water And Sewer Department
  • Liberty Water Works
  • London Utility Commission
  • Louisa Water Department
  • Madisonville Light and Water
  • Monroe County Water District
  • Providence Water Works
  • Webster County Water District

Forty-four drinking water plants received a certificate for meeting AWOP turbidity goals and criteria in 2021:

  • Barbourville Water & Electric
  • Blue Grass Army Depot
  • Booneville Water
  • Bullock Pen Water District
  • Burkesville Water Works
  • Cave Run Regional Water Commission
  • Central City Water & Sewer
  • Columbia/Adair County Water Commission
  • Danville City Water Works
  • Falmouth Water Department
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plants A & B
  • Hardin County Water District No. 2 – Plants A & B
  • Hartford Municipal Water Works
  • Hodgenville Water Works
  • Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jackson Municipal Water Works
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Jenkins Water System
  • Kentucky American – Plant C
  • Kentucky State Penitentiary
  • Knox County Utility Commission
  • Laurel County Water District No. 2
  • Lawrenceburg Water & Sewer Department
  • Lebanon Water Works Company Inc.
  • Liberty Water Works
  • Logan Todd Regional Water Commission
  • London Utility Commission
  • Louisa Water Department
  • Madisonville Light & Water
  • McCreary County Water District – Plants A & B
  • Monroe County Water District
  • Paducah Water Works
  • Princeton Water & Sewer Commission
  • Providence Water Works
  • Rattlesnake Ridge Water District
  • Water Services Corporation of KY, Middlesboro
  • Webster County Water District
  • Williamsburg Water Department
  • Wood Creek Water District

Ten drinking water systems received a certificate for meeting AWOP DBP goals and criteria in 2021:

  • Campbellsville Municipal Water
  • Cynthiana Municipal Water Works
  • Danville City Water Works
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plant A and B
  • Hardin County Water District #2 – Plant A and B
  • Paducah Water Works
  • Princeton Water and Sewer Commission

For additional information about AWOP visit  or contact Jackie Logsdon at or 502-764-1209.


The Kentucky Division of Water Seeks Public Comment

Draft report addressing bacteria-impaired minor tributaries of the Ohio River

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 22 2022) – The Kentucky Division of Water is seeking public comment through July 25, 2022 on a draft report that addresses bacteria-impaired streams in minor tributary watersheds of the Ohio River. This Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report provides critical information needed to restore water quality in these waters.

To read the draft report and for instructions on how to comment, visit the Division of Water website at To learn more about how TMDLs help to support water quality restoration, visit the TMDL program website at

“Total Maximum Daily Load” refers to the amount of a pollutant a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. Standards for E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria are intended to protect the health of those using surface waters for swimming, wading, boating, and other recreation.

The Clean Water Act requires each state to periodically identify specific waters in which standards are not being met and then to develop a TMDL for the pollutants not meeting standards.  TMDL reports are made available to the public for review and comment prior to submission to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

The new report will complete TMDLs for 49 impaired stream segments in the following counties: Ballard, Boyd, Bracken, Breckinridge, Campbell, Crittenden, Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jefferson, Meade, Oldham, and Union.

The report is part of the Kentucky Statewide Bacteria TMDL, an ongoing effort which will complete TMDLs for more than 350 stream segments by the end of 2022.