Thousands Still without Water in Eastern Kentucky

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of people are still without drinking water in parts of Kentucky, as some counties are under boil water advisories and nothing comes out of the faucet in others.

In Johnson County, emergency management officials say about 1,500 customers do not have water as of Monday. In Greenup County, there are also about 1,500 customers without water, according to Dennis Bass, the county’s emergency management director. And in Catlettsburg, in Boyd County, some people still do not have water and haven’t since Thursday.

Officials in all three counties say this is because of changes in weather, from subzero temperatures to warmer ones. They say it is not related to the chemical spill in West Virginia and that the weather has caused a lot of leaks and breaks in the water systems. This, in turn, means the water tanks are running low because of increased demand.

“[I] came here to get some water but they’re out, so I don't know what we're going to do,” Tammy Mann, who lives in Oil Springs, Ky., said.

Mann hasn’t had water for days. The Oil Springs Volunteer Fire Department ran out of bottled water. Firefighter Hubert Fairchild tells that they had 52 cases of bottled water from the county’s emergency management department, but they are now completely out.

“It's very tough, very tough. Especially if the elderly come, we don’t have any water to give them,” Fairchild said.

“It’s gone beyond an inconvenience,” Mann said. “If we can’t drink it, we can’t give it to the animals to drink either.”

People in parts of Boyd County and Greenup County also are facing yet another day without water.

“The stores are out. We've gone to Wal-Mart and Kroger and we've gone to several places. They're out of water,” Barbara Delaney, who lives in Lloyd, said.

“Praying that it's on. Aggravated cause it's not. You know, what I can't figure out is what we're supposed to do,” Lisa Barrett of Catlettsburg said.

Emergency departments say they’re trying to get the water back on, but the process is slow because they have to pressurize the water lines. They tell a major blowout or break could mean the water would be turned off completely.

Both Greenup County and Johnson County are under boil water advisories. In the meantime, for people who do have water, officials are asking people to conserve what they have and report leaks as soon as possible.

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