Report: Ky. county's residents can't afford water rate hike

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Residents of a Kentucky county plagued by years of drinking water issues are asking for a halt to rate increases as many low-income customers pay some of the highest water bills in the state.

A new report on the water crisis in Martin County says its 4,300 households cannot bear the cost burden of much-needed water system improvements. County residents continue to drink bottled water, and many homes have pressure issues or discolored water. About 44% of households have income below $25,000 per year.

The report from the Appalachian Citizens' Law Center released Monday says water is too expensive for nearly half the county's residents, based on an Environmental Protection Agency standard.

Residents had their rates increased twice in 2018, adding about $14 a month to the average bill.