Green Hills Water woes continue

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Some residents in Harlan County are without water once again.

Officials from the Green Hills Water District said that there was some miscommunication on repairs from the main water source at the Pineville Utility Commission which left some residents in Bledsoe high and dry.

“I have got a barrel out there that I catch rain water in to flush the commode,” said Linda Scruggs who lives in Bledsoe.

People like Scruggs and Nettie Mae Burkhart are forced to stock up on one resource many take for granted.

“I am grateful that the rain come, what little bit we did get so we can catch water,” said Scruggs.

“I have got about ten gallons of water to flush with and a lot of water in gallon containers cause I figured this would happen again you know cause of the problems we have had in the past,” said Burkhart.

They are like several others in the district who have grown accustomed to dealing with water woes.

“If people are paying their water bill like I am paying it, it looks like they could fix the problem,” said Scruggs.

Scruggs said caring for herself and a 10-year-old girl is bad enough without water, but add on the five dogs and seven cats and it becomes an even bigger catastrophe.

“I have had to dig a hole in the ground to catch water for the dogs to drink,” said Scruggs.
“They have to drink muddy water and I don’t see a reason for that.”

In the past, the problems were due to breaks in equipment, but officials said that this time, it is coming from general maintenance at the main source.

“The reason why Green Hills doesn’t have water this time is because Pineville has scheduled a plant cleaning,” said Green Hills Water Board Chairman Ralph Turner.

Turner said that he spoke with Pineville Utilities Commission Plant Manager Bill Bunch who said that they were in the process of cleaning out the filter system.
“He said they had planned this for two months and so this has been taking place and he has not been pumping water out for the last day or so,” said Turner.

Turner said that the word was given to a plant manager who went out on sick leave and did not relay the message so they could prepare.

Bunch confirmed that his employees had been in touch with Green Hills Plant Manager Obie York to tell them about the repairs and cleaning so that they could react accordingly. Bunch said employees from P.U.C. called York last week so he would be able to forward the word on.

“It is our plant manager’s fault because he never let any of us know,” said Turner.
“Our plant manager did not notify me or anyone else in this green hills water board that we would be down.”

This is not the first time these people have been without water and some said that they wake up every morning wondering whether or not they are going to have the resource.

“Some mornings you will get up and you will have water, some nights before you go to bed you won't have no water,” said Scruggs.

Burkhart said that she knows that the people of the Green Hills Water Board could not have known ahead of time about the situation.

“We haven't had water all night or today,” said Burkhart.

“People from the county would have been out here giving out water if they would have known.”

Turner said he spoke with Harlan County Judge Executive Joe Grieship and Magistrate Jonathan Pope who said that they will be distributing water as early as 8:00 AM Jan. 27 as some will be out for at least two more days.

“If we don't pump this by 8 o'clock, pump this water here by then we will have water at the green hill school, or water plant for people to come and get,” said Turner.

Turner requested that those who get their water turned back on respect the fact that there is a shortage.

“Wash a load if you need to but don’t wash all of your clothes or take long baths,” said Turner.
“There are other people out there who need to use the water.”

Turner said that he wants people to know that they will have some water get to them, but the problem will not be completely fixed for a few days and conservation is necessary for the time being.

Turner said that they are working on a long term fix. He said that they are planning on running a line across Pine Mountain from the city of Harlan. Turner said that engineers told him that they are going to get it started in March and money has been set aside for the project.

Turner said he is hoping that will finally end the ongoing water woes for the citizens of Bledsoe.

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