At Your Service 2021 highlights

Check out the Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works 2021 highlights! We completed quite a few constructions and infrastructure projects, mixed it up with various at-home, virtual and in-person events, and continued with our usual tasks like leaf collection and snow removal. It was a busy year, and we'd like to show you some highlights.

Featured projects

backhoe digging open sewer trench with man in safety vest watching from nearbyGovernor Andy Beshear awarded $11.8 million to LFUCG from the Better Kentucky Plan’s $250 million Cleaner Water Program to replace the current chlorine gas disinfection process used at the wastewater treatment plans to disinfect treated wastewater.  Instead, the wastewater treatment plants will use a new Ultraviolet (UV) disinfectant system to disinfect the water of harmful microorganisms before it is discharged back into water bodies.  Replacing chlorine improves safety by eliminating toxic gas exposure risks to employees and the community and reducing the potential for byproducts in drinking water supplies.

man crossing southland drive at crosswalk



Upgraded Town Branch aeration blowers will reduce up to 240,000-kilowatt hours per month. Environmental Services assisted Water Quality with $628,670 in EIF funds to upgrade Town Branch with more efficient aeration blowers (blowers provide aeration in activated sludge plants and promote aerobic digestion), which will reduce up to 240,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per month.




In April, Building Inspection created a virtual inspection option for HVAC replacements in residential properties. Since then, Building they have performed over 2,000 virtual inspections and plans to keep this option moving forward.

The city moved the tax district petition process online, helping 200 households successfully vote to add city services to their streets.

The Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Council moved their quarterly meetings from in-person to virtual, resulting in record-breaking attendance – going from an average of 31-32 people per meeting to 62 and 63 for the September and December meetings, respectively.



Trails and sidewalks


cyclist on green bike trail on street two people walking on the brighton trail on a sunny day with trees in foregroundThe city completed several significant projects to expand the trail systems and add or improve sidewalks. Highlights include:

Beaumont Y Trail: 10-foot wide and approx. 1,800-feet long; starts at Beaumont Centre Circle behind the YMCA and connects to the existing trails within Harrods Hill Park

Citation Trail, phase 1: 2,100-foot section of trail connecting an existing shared trail segment along Citation Boulevard to trails in Masterson Hills Park; eventually the trail system will connect to Masterson Station Park

Legacy Trail, final segment: located mainly in the Third and Fourth street area between Winchester Road and Jefferson Street; the 12-mile completed trail connects the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden to the Kentucky Horse Park; won the Grand Award  from American Council of Engineering Companies/Kentucky

Veterans Park: widened the road connecting upper and lower trails; added sidewalk and bicycle lanes improving safety for all users

Old Todds Road: 4,000 feet of new sidewalks connecting the neighborhoods to the library


orange barrels on roadside with road constructionThere are both city and state managed roads within Fayette County. Several city divisions are involved in building and maintaining the city roads, including Engineering, Traffic Engineering and Streets & Roads. Contractors are also often involved. They also work closely with the state on projects on state roads. Projects completed in 2020 include the James Lane Bridge, Old Frankfort Viewing Area, Polo Club Extension and repaving projects on Tates Creek and Man O’ War.



two employees in high-vis vests patching a pothole in the roadRoads, sewers and other infrastructure require constant maintenance, even during a pandemic. In 2020, the Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works:

Patched 4,611 potholes (That’s an average of more than 17 per weekday!)

Rehabbed 152 manholes

Repaired 92 stormwater structures

Resurfaced approximately 51 miles of roads

Cleaned 1,259,933 feet of sanitary sewer (That’s the approximate driving distance from Lexington to Nashville!)

Replaced 115 LED lamps and 10 pedestrian LED countdown lamps at signalized intersections

Installed or upgraded 45 traffic monitoring cameras

Completed Manchester sewer project, replacing 1,900 feet of sewer line and repaving  from the railroad overpass to Oliver Lewis Way

traffic signals on red in downtown LexingtonTraffic Engineering is constantly monitoring traffic patterns to improve roadway efficiency and safety. In 2020, Traffic Engineering:

Installed 16 speed tables on residential streets

Installed 2,237 roadway signs

Rebuilt 16 signalized intersections

Installed 44 police transfer switches allowing Police to easily run the traffic signals during power outages

Installed 55 radar detection units at 19 intersections, making the signals more responsive to traffic conditions

Re-timed the traffic signals along 3 arterial routes and improved traffic signal coordination along several other arterials and locations

street lights lining road going into downtown Lexington with big blue building in skylineEnvironmental Services works closely with Facilities Management to monitor and reduce the city’s utility use and costs. In 2020, the city:

Completed a whole-building LED retrofit of Police HQ saving 120,000 kwh and approximately $10,000 per year (753 old light fixtures removed, 754 LED lights installed)

Removed 1,166 old lights and installed 1,210 LED lights - in addition to the Police HQ project

Applied for approximately $25,000 in KU rebates for LED lighting projects

Negotiated a new rate for natural gas service for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling stations, saving  >$10,000 per month

Added 15 more CNG fill stations at Waste Management


buckets of tree seedlings lined up on a sidewalkEverything looked a little different in 2020 – including many of our favorite annual events. However, we worked to create new versions of these activities that allowed people to work together for a better Lexington while staying physically apart. Highlights include:

Reforest at Home: 6,235 trees distributed, 23 species of tree

Creek Sweep: 145 volunteers did 46 clean-ups throughout Lexington, collecting 108  bags of trash plus tires, a broken scooter and bike, sign posts, a pallet and other bulky items

Paint by Nature: 43 artists created 59 pieces of art, inspired by 23 noteworthy trees in Fayette County


old paint and household waste cans in box at disposal siteThe fall/winter of 2020 was a recording smashing year for many of our collection events.

Paper Shred: 1,416 cars served, almost 90,000 lbs of paper shredded

HHW Collection:  2,065 vehicles served; 233,073 lbs of material collected

Campaign sign collection: approx. 1,700 signs collected

Gobble Grease Toss: 134 cars served, 548 gallons of grease collected for recycling (That’s like filling 13+ bathtubs with grease!)

Holiday lights: 2,449 lbs collected through partner locations (That’s as much as full-grown hippo!)

The next Paper Shred is April 24. The next HHW event is May 22.

lexplorers bag with colorful childrens activities, coloring sheetsThanks to amazing partners, our K-12 outreach efforts looked different but continued through the summer and a virtual fall.

LexPlorer kits distributed over the summer: approximately 5,000 English and 500 Spanish LexPlorer kits were distributed through[ARP1]  the FCPS meal distribution program, Black Soil, The Lyric Theatre, Gainesway Community Center and William Wells Brown Community Center; 650 English and 500 Spanish through the libraries and FCPS Family Resource Centers; 115 checklists were returned for prizes showing students had completed at least 3 of the 5 activities

Virtual, classroom-based outreach this fall: 234 lessons; 75 field trips; 10 career panels; 2,783 students

Thanks to the educators at Bluegrass Greensource for quickly adapting their approach to our environmental education contract so students could continue to have these important learning experiences.



yellow dumpster outdoors It was a big year for recycling in Lexington. Here are a few highlights:

Yellow paper bins: program launched in January; 582 tons of paper collected through November; the cleaner material (because it isn’t mixed with other materials) results in a better market price - $20/ton more on average

Recycle Center equipment upgrades: a new main conveyor belt was installed to minimize downtime; a new Eddy current was installed to more effectively and efficiently sort aluminum cans; LED lights were installed to improve lighting for safety and comfort; heating and cooling upgrades were made to create a better work environment for staff on the sorting line

Urban Forestry

smiling woman in summer clothes sitting behind tree seedling she plantedWe love trees! 2020 may have changed some of the ways we got them in them ground, but it was still a tree-mendous year!

Reforest at Home: 6,235 trees distributed, 24 species of tree

Walnut grove: over 1,000 walnut trees were planted in a walnut grove on city property in the north end of town (plantings took place in 2019 & 2020)

Nursery news: 315 trees were dug up from the city’s tree nursery for Tree Week plantings at past Reforest the Bluegrass sites, schools and homes; the gravel beds produced 100 trees for plantings: maple, yellow poplar, Kentucky coffeetree and American basswood; the tree nursery at Hisle Park continues to be a low budget, big impact resource for the Urban Forestry program

Paint by Nature: 43 artists created 59 pieces of art, inspired by 23 noteworthy trees in Fayette County


socially distanced Girl Scouts standing next to creek with bags of trash they picked upWe wish we didn’t have to do this, but litter is an unfortunate reality. The city, contractors and volunteers all work together to help keep our community clean.

Creek Sweep: 145 volunteers did 46 clean-ups throughout Lexington, collecting 108  bags of trash plus tires, a broken scooter and bike, sign posts, a pallet and other bulky items

Contractors (including the panhandler program): cleaned 143.3 tons of trash plus 307 tires from 154 project locations

Remember to bag your trash and secure any debris in your truck beds to help prevent the problem.

General outreach

simple icons of phone, computer, trash cart that says sign up for text alertsCommunicating with a city is a tough task. There is so much information and so many outlets that’s it’s easy for folks to miss something. Thanks for following us on social, and sharing our information with your social networks. Here are some outreach highlights from 2020:

In your mailbox: 192,000 At Your Service newsletters; 3,756 new homeowner packets with information on city services; 192,000 postcards with information on holiday collections

On your screens: Followers increased 9.15% on Facebook, 7.96% on Twitter and 19.75% on Instagram; started running our new stormwater ads, featuring Blade and friends, on both TV and social; started running Recycle Right ads on TV and on social to help people understand what to recycle and what to trash

On the airwaves: new weekly content on RadioLex, their English and Spanish stations, and Radio Vida Spanish for a total of over 2,054 minutes of on-air content; radio ads on several local stations relating to recycling right, leaf collection, construction updates and more 

Text alerts: new in late 2020; 144 people signed up for volunteer alerts; 465 people signed up for alerts about special collection events like Paper Shred or Household Hazardous Waste; and 759 residents signed up to receive information changes to the curbside collection schedule due to holidays or weather


two employees in high-vis vests picking up a mattress with a truckLexCall is a great way to communicate your needs with the city staff who can help. Reach LexCall by dialing 311 or 425-2255 during regular business hours. Or, submit a service request 24/7 at Waste Management is one of the top recipients of LexCall service requests:

Mattresses: 2,810 mattresses picked within two business days (on average) after the request was made

Appliances: 1,984 appliances picked up within three business days (on average) of the request being made

Tires: 675 pickups of off-the-rim tires, completed within two business days (on average) of the request being made

Other bulky items: 5,161 bulky items picked up (curbside and dumpster) within two days (on average) of the request being made