Green Hills Water District receives help from KY National Guard

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

A Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS) was installed on Feb. 4 in the Green Hills Water District, behind the office next to the post office in Bledsoe.

The Kentucky National Guard stepped in to help people in Harlan County who have been without water for over a week and a half.

Officials from the Green Hills Water District is a temporary fix and because the lines have been down for so long, the people will not be able to drink the water that comes out of the faucet for at least a week.

After months of issues, the customers of the district have had to pick up water once again.

“It's only a drop in the bucket for what your daily use is, but it helps, you don't have to go out and buy it,” said Philip Banks, who lives in Bledsoe.

Banks said he is hoping a long term solution will come sooner than later.

“It is kind of hard to take a bath in that small amount of water, and laundry, and other household chores, forget, we don't have enough water and we are all a little weary with it,” said Geneva Brock.

Brock said that she appreciates the help from the Harlan County Rescue Squad, but she would also like to have clean drinking water on a consistent basis.

Brock and Banks are both going on the eleventh day without water as of Feb. 6.

“You can heat water to bathe in, but it's nothing like a good hot shower or bath,” said Banks.

Board officials said that because of an emergency declaration, help from the Kentucky National Guard will give them what they need for now.

“We still have approximately 240 to 260 without water and they are here today, since yesterday actually to help pump water into our tanks so we can furnish water to our customers,” said Board Chairman Ralph Turner.

Turner said that no bills had been missed to Pineville in the past and the only issue they encountered was a request for two days delay in payment which was granted. Turner said that the customers will still have the pay the full amount of their bill when it comes, which is a minimum rate, not based on usage.

National guard officials said it is a lengthy process to get the water to the customers. The water starts coming as spring water from the mountain where the district is located. It then comes up from the bottom of the mountain through a fire hydrant and into a red dump tank. From the dump tank it goes through the purifier and into large temporary containers called bladders which are then pouted into the tower to be pumped out to customers.

Samples taken from the water on Sat. Feb. 4 when the guard came in were tested and okayed for consumption, but officials said there are still a few caveats.

“The lines that are broke are coming from the city and they have bacteria in them and they still need to boil water until it pushes all that bad water out,” said Specialist Wesley Goss.

The temporary systems will be in place for several days and are pumping around 30,000 gallons per day.

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