Low Water In The Licking River Diminishing Quality

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2008) – The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection has issued a boil water advisory for Magoffin County resulting from poor water conditions in the Licking River.

The river is the primary source of water supply for the Magoffin County Water District and the City of Salyersville. Both water systems are served by Salyersville Municipal Water. Approximately 15,000 people are affected by the advisory.

A boil water advisory is a preventive measure to protect the health of the community from waterborne infectious agents. An advisory is issued after careful consideration among representatives from public health, regulatory and municipal agencies.

While water levels in the Licking River have risen slightly since a state of emergency was declared Oct. 10 due to low flow, the accumulation of leaves and high levels of manganese have diminished the quality of the water, said Julie Roney, drinking water coordinator at the Division of Water.

“We have been working with the water utility to adjust the chlorine levels to mitigate these issues, but so far the additional applications have been insufficient to maintain the required minimum residual chlorine level in the distribution system,” she said. “This advisory was issued in the interest of public safety.”

Heavy leaf content causes the water to turn dark as the organic material deteriorates. High manganese levels are common when water is drawn from lower depths of supply sources. While neither of these conditions is harmful, it becomes difficult to “feed” enough chlorine to resolve the problem and continue to protect against bacteria.

“The chlorine is simply used up in the process of cleaning the water,” said Roney. “There is, then, no chlorine left over to protect the distribution system.”

Magoffin County residents are advised to prepare water for drinking, cooking and tooth brushing by bringing it to a rolling boil for three minutes (timing starts when the water begins to bubble). Cool the water, then place it in clean containers for use or refrigerate.

Hot, soapy water can be used for dishwashing and kitchen/bathroom surface cleaning. As a precaution, add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon. Water for laundering and bathing does not need to be boiled.


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