Division of Water
Consumer Advisory Lifted for Letcher County
The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has lifted the water consumer advisory for Letcher County following analysis of samples taken of the raw and finished water at the Whitesburg and Letcher County water systems. The DOW consulted with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) to reach the decision. The produced water has been cleared for drinking and all other uses.
The decision to lift the advisory was made after laboratory results of additional water samples taken Wednesday indicated the water did not exceed personal exposure limits or drinking water standards.
As water use resumes, consumers are advised to flush pipes for several minutes if they detect an unusual odor to the water. If the odor persists, they should contact their water company for assistance. As a precaution, food and drinks prepared with water produced prior to the consumer advisory being issued should be discarded.
The advisory was put into place Saturday following the discovery of waste petroleum seeping into the North Fork of the Kentucky River from a site approximately one mile above the plant’s raw water intake. The Kentucky Environmental Response Team was activated to respond to the emergency.
Cleanup efforts at the site of the petroleum seepage are continuing and an investigation is underway.
“Every precaution has been taken to protect the public from harmful contaminants,” said Sandy Gruzesky, DOW director. “Considering the nature of the pollutant source, it was appropriate to suspend water production and distribution until test results demonstrated the problem was solved and no contaminants remained in the water.”
Guy Delius, director of the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety at DPH, said he supported the decision to lift the advisory.
“We worked with the Division of Water and the Division of Environmental Services to review the sample results and remove this advisory as quickly as possible,” said Delius. “Our first priority has always been the health of our citizens.”
. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Safe Drinking Water Act, has established pollutant-specific criteria for public water systems. When a problem is detected, immediate testing and retesting requirements go into effect along with public notification that consumption has the potential of serious adverse effects on human health as a result of short-term exposure.
A consumer advisory is issued when there is a possibility that consumption of water produced by a water treatment plant may be harmful to human health.
Contact the Whitesburg Water Works at 606-633-7310. Contact the Letcher County Water District at 606-633-8550.