Herrington Lake Study

We’re committed to meeting or exceeding the requirements of our environmental permits at E.W. Brown Generating Station in order to ensure the water quality, aesthetics and recreational appeal of our beautiful Herrington Lake. 

Click here to review the full report

About Herrington Lake

The lake was formed in the 1920s by the construction of Dix Dam and the hydroelectric plant on site to help meet Kentucky’s growing energy needs.

It’s one of the deepest lakes in Kentucky. When the hydroelectric plant’s intake opens, the lake water spins three turbines to make electricity.

  • Herrington Lake’s 35 miles long and up to 1,200 feet wide.
  • Covers more than 2,300 acres and 325 miles of shoreline.
  • Holds an estimated 175 billion gallons of water.
  • Because the lake’s so deep, it’s only frozen over two times — in 1936 and 1978.
  • Known for some of Kentucky’s best reservoir fishing and being well-stocked with bluegill, catfish, crappie, and several varieties of bass.

KU’s proud to be a member of the Herrington Lake Conservation League and supports its volunteers who are dedicated to preserving the natural beauty, environmental health and safety of the lake.

Employees also participate in volunteer-led clean-up efforts, picking up litter and debris along the lake shores.
 

The Health of the Lake

In the summer of 2019, an internationally recognized independent environmental consulting firm, Ramboll, completed its in-depth study of Herrington Lake.

We’re proud to say, the environmental assessment shows our operations at E.W. Brown Generating Station have had no significant impacts on the water quality or fish populations in Herrington Lake.

Findings confirm the water quality is safe for recreational use and meets safe drinking water standards for our community.

About the study

  • It took place over a year and a half during different seasons in the year to make sure all factors that could impact the study results were considered.
  • It was conducted by Ramboll, an internationally recognized independent environmental consulting firm. Ramboll spent a year and a half planning, implementing and documenting the in-depth study and its findings confirm the water quality is safe for recreational use and meets safe drinking water standards for our community.
  • It included the collection of thousands of fish, water and sediment samples from areas throughout Herrington Lake during different seasons in the year to make sure all factors that could impact the study results were considered.
  • In Curds Inlet, as well as several other areas well away from E.W. Brown, some juvenile bluegill, fish only a few centimeters long and few weeks old, were observed to have enlarged eyes. The study found no conclusive evidence to pinpoint the cause of this condition, which was not observed in adult fish during the study. Whatever the cause, Ramboll concluded this condition has no impact on the overall bluegill population in Herrington Lake, which remains abundant.
  • The results of this comprehensive study have been submitted to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet for their review and approval, as part of the commitment we made to the cabinet — and to our community — in 2017 to investigate conditions in Herrington Lake.

  Review the full report

Appendices: 

Ongoing investments

In addition, KU has recently spent more than $100 million to begin closure plans for our ash ponds at E.W. Brown, and to construct new treatment facilities for our coal combustion materials and an environmentally protective landfill. In 2020, we began operating a new process-water treatment system to treat waters that come in contact with CCR materials prior to the ash ponds being closed. We’re also assessing operational changes and technologies that will enhance existing controls, comply with U.S. EPA’s CCR Rule standards and recently proposed effluent limitation guidelines, and ensure continued environmental protection of human health and the environment. 

Read more about our projects

aerial photo of Dix Dam hydroelectric plant
Dix Dam hydroelectric plant
photo of Herrington Lake
Herrington Lake