Residents Concerned After Man Found Dumping Raw Sewage Into The Big Sandy River

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

The attorney general is saying an Eastern Kentucky man dumped a quarter of a million gallons of raw, untreated sewage into the Big Sandy River over eight months.

Residents are very upset after learning that 56 year old Dave Bowling was caught in the act, dumping raw sewage into a drain that led directly to the Big Sandy River the source of water for many in the area.

It's a crime that some state officials are describing as outrageous and has left some local residents wondering just what is getting in to their water.

George Roe says that after he heard untreated sewage was being dumped just down the road from his house it got him to thinking.

"It does make you wonder if what you're flushing through the toilet may be coming back at you through the kitchen sink," Roe said.

Many residents who live near the Hager Hill drain where the sewage was allegedly being dumped echo Roe's thoughts. They say they're furious. After a six month joint investigation by officials with the attorney general's office, Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, and the U.S. EPA resulted in the arrest and indictment of 56 year old Dave Bowling.

"Anytime you have pollution dumped into a creek, river, or stream, there's an obvious potential for an environmental and health impact. That's something we don't know right now," said Mark York, Executive Director of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.

"I don't want to alarm people in Paintsville, because I know they're plant does a good job and they test," said Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

An official with Paintsville Utilities says that they test the water daily and no one should be in danger saying they're actually putting out some of the best water they've ever put out. But people like George Roe say it still makes you think before you drink.

An official with the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet says their agency has filed an emergency motion to seize temporary control of five waste water treatment plants in Johnson County, owned by Bowling's son Lance. Officials say Lance Bowling was arrested Tuesday night.

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