A Bell County water plant supplies water to thousands of people in several Southeastern Kentucky counties, but officials at the Cannon Creek Lake Reservoir say people's reckless actions are damaging the water supply.
In Bell County, when the weather turns warm, Cannon Creek Lake becomes a popular destination. The only problem, that lake is also a main water source for thousands of people and water officials say people are taking advantage of the situation.
Joel Gooden who operates the Pineville Water Treatment Plant says nature provides the purest water source around, so good people in Bell, Knox, Harlan, and even Clay and Leslie Counties drink it. But he says they're having a hard time keeping it pure thanks to many people who are riding ATV's all around the reservoir, something that damages the grounds and leads to dirty water that's harder to treat.
Goodin says swimmers like to dive off the plant's main intake station. They've vandalized signs and at one point he says they even shut off the water intake almost halting the water supply to thousands.
Pineville manages the water plant and its mayor is frustrated.
"If I have to hire security to stop the pollution of our water supply, the water rates will have to go up again," said Mayor Bob Madon.
Hiking water rates is something Pineville's mayor says he hopes he doesn't have to do. He and water officials say they hope as people venture out to the lake this spring and summer, they'll respect the water reservoir area and they hope that will reduce these problems.