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Water Finally Drinkable in Letcher County

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Clean drinking water is flowing again in Letcher County. The division of water lifted the non-consumption advisory Wednesday and officials say the latest tests show no measurable levels of diesel fuel.

State officials say they will continue to monitor the local waterways and what is processed in the plant for future problems. For now, local officials say they are just glad this is all finally over.

People in Letcher County say the lifted water ban is a sigh of relief. Whitesburg mayor James Craft says, "It's over, people can use their water, and I'm sure people are happy about that."

Health officials say people should take a few precautions to make sure the clean water has cycled through to their faucets. "The first thing they need to do is flush out their lines and they can do that by turning on the cold water in several sinks, and let it run for about 15 to 20 minutes," says lead nurse Shelia Logan with the Letcher County Health Department.

Logan says people should also flush their water heaters, change filters, and empty ice makers. D.J. Frazier says she is glad she will finally be able to wash dishes and do laundry. She says more than one week without water caused a major headache. She says, "It's frustrating when you don't find out, you don't know how much longer it's going to be. You just keep waiting, and then they tell you "another day or two"... it's just frustrating."

For the first time, Childers Oil is responding to what happened with a letter published in The Mountain Eagle. Officials say they share the frustrations of the community and will continue to closely monitor their sites. Meanwhile, county officials say they appreciate everyone's support and patience.

"They knew that it was a problem that we didn't create, but that we had to deal with, and they were very, very understanding," says Craft.

"They have been real patient and i just hope we never have to go through this again!" say Judge Executive Jim Ward. He is also working on a petition to use fines from the spill to improve the water system.

Shelia Logan says if anyone smells an odor from the water after they flush out their pipes, they should contact their water supplier or the health department.


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