Health department looking for public health impacts from Lincoln County pipeline explosion

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It's been more than a month since a pipeline exploded in Lincoln County. Now, state and government health officials, including the CDC, will be working to see if there are any lingering effects for the people who were close to that blast.

Some of the changes since that explosion on August 1 are obvious, like Enbridge's work to get that pipeline back up and running or the security that still surrounds that site.

"In the process of getting it certified, safe, to where they can open all the lines back up and transport their product," Don Gilliam, Lincoln County Director of Emergency Management said.

But what might not be obvious, is how that explosion, and the ensuing burning gas, affected people nearby. As a precautionary measure, local and state health officials, along with a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in Lincoln County to see if there are any public health impacts.

WKYT's Victor Puente asked if Gilliam had any issues following his time at the site.

"I have, my deputy and I both had some upper respiratory issues," Gilliam said. "I don't know if it was caused by the event. I do know that it popped up a couple days after the event."

Those teams hope to find out if there is any connection. They started last week interviewing first responders and planned to begin interviewing residents on Monday.

"I don't know what they were exposed to prior to being able to get away. Actually could've been worse," Puente said. "The few minutes that it took them to get out of harms way may have been worse than the hours that followed. I don't know. That's why CDC and other folks are here looking into it.

Gilliam says they'd have security at the site for the foreseeable future.

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