Pike County Family Still Without Clean Water

By Sean Evans | 

Families along Big Branch rely on well water for their drinking supply.
But for the last two months people like Denise Howard have had to buy water to drink and cook with.
They're worried, because their families still have to bathe in the water.

"You never know what methane in the water is liable to cause. You don't know what kind of health problems or anything else that they can get from that," said Kenya Conn.

Some in the area suspect nearby Excel Number Two Mine.

"I am not here to place the blame on anyone, however I am asking, if this is not mine related then why is the content of the methane gas so high?" said Carolyn Waugh.

We were out here at the Howard's a little more than two months ago. Then the flames were just about to the top of the well, now they're shooting out at least a foot and a half. And they say it isn't getting any better.

"It sometimes looks like that. This color right here. Yeah, it looks like that most of the time," said Denise Howard.

"Probably thousands, no joke. Because, that's literally what we have to spend on water, and we don't have that kind of money," said Howard.

All she and her family want is a new water source. Family members say they will pay to have the Martin County's water run to their house, a connection only several thousand feet away.

But Mountain Water District officials in Pike County say that could cost between 125 and 150 thousand dollars.

"From our existing lines it's eleven miles to the homes. That's why we're looking at going through Martin County, where it's just a few thousand feet to be able to do that," said Roy Sawyers with Mountain Water District.

Sawyer says from the day the agreement is made to purchase water from Martin County, it will still take at least three months for the water to be connected.

We attempted to reach Excel Mining, but were unable to get a comment.

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