Thousands Of People Are Without Drinking Water

By: Matt Barbour Email
By: Matt Barbour Email

Thousands of people are without safe drinking water after petroleum spilled into the water supply for Whitesburg and several other Letcher County communities.

With nearly 4,000 people affected, local officials declared a state of emergency for the city of Whitesburg and ordered people not to use the water.

They say Whitesburg water customers first started calling in on Saturday, complaining the water smelled like gasoline.

County officials traced the leak to a nearby bulk plant.

Now they are waiting on test results from the state, to see when the water will be safe.

“We walked the river and found the source and have blocked it off so we are hoping it might stop the leaching into the water. And from there we just have to see what the state tells us to do,” Mayor James Wiley Craft said.

In the meantime, county and city officials are distributing fresh water at three locations, Whitesburg customers can go to the Colson Fire Department, recycling center, or City Hall.

Depending on test results, local officials say the situation can last up to one week.

The areas affected by the water contamination include, Whitesburg, Whitco, Cowan, Ermine, Craft Colley, Mayking, Sandlick, Deane, Thornton, Campbranch, Dry Fork and Uz.

Customers on the Blackey, Neon and Jenkins water systems are NOT affected.

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