“Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”
That familiar phrase has hit too close to homes in recent days as tens of thousands of residents of West Virginia and northeastern Kentucky learned first hand of what life is like when a resource most of us take from granted — safe drinking water — suddenly is unavailable. Seldom have people in this region felt so vulnerable.
The most serious of the problems were in neighboring West Virginia where a chemical spill in the Elk River made the water unsafe to drink or even bathe or wash clothes for more than 300,000 residents.
Without water, communities in West Virginia essentially shut down. Restaurants were closed because water is essential for preparing most food items, and even if it could be prepared, there was no water to wash dishwater or flush toilets. There was such a mad rush for bottled water in this area that one large supermarket was answering the telephone by saying, “Hello, no we don’t have any bottled water, sorry.”
But communities on this side of the Big Sandy River also found water in short supply, but instead of a chemical spill, it was because of the warming temperatures after last week’s frigid weather. First, frozen water lines slowed the flow of water and lowered the water pressure to a trickle in hundreds of area homes
Then, as the temperatures warmed, the thawing ice causes scores of leaks water lines. There were so many water line leaks in private homes that at least one plumber responded to a call in his private vehicles, because his employer’s seven vehicles were all on calls.
But the leaks were not just limited to private residences. Far from it. In the city of Greenup, which supplies much of Greenup County with water, there were so many leaks in water lines that the city was forced to shut off service to about 2,000 customers because of a lack of water.
Catlettsburg residents were struggling with low or non-existent water pressure because of leaks. Compounding the problem was the city was have trouble locating at least some of the leaks and issued a plea to area residents who spotted leaks to please call the water department.
Hopefully, by today the most serious problems are behind us. But engineers and employees of water companies need to meet to discuss ways to handle similar problems in the future. Fortunately, the extremely cold weather that this region experienced Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 is rare, but it served a reminder to homeowners to better protect their water lines from the cold.
As for the chemical spill in West Virginia, well, that should have never happened. Those responsible for it must be held accountable for the extreme hardships the spill caused. The spill cost businesses and individuals throughout the region millions of dollars.
While all the water problems caused water companies from Greenup, Flatwoods and Catlettsburg and throughout West Virginia to receive more than their share of angry calls, from our vantage point, scores of water company employees and plumbers worked many, many hours without rest trying to repair the leaks and restore water to customers. While the extent of the problems may have been a bit more than they could handle as quickly as we wished, we commend them for their efforts. Without their skills and dedication, the problems would have been much, much worse.
Sure, most will receive hefty paychecks for their hours of overtime, but they deserve it.
Last few days have remined us of how vulnerable we are
“Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”
Deadline is near
People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.
Issue is safety
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”
In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.
Primary election sends messages
The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.
Click it or Ticket
"Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.
Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.
05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State
John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.
Morehead State graduate student Kayla Keeton, who received her undergraduate degree from MSU last spring and is now studying for her MBA at the school, has received a $5,111 grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help her start Belles of the Bluegrass, a high-tech wedding planning business.
Recovery Fest celebrates kicking addiction
The wet weather no doubt impacted the size of the crowd at Saturday’s Recovery Fest 2014 at Veterans Riverfront Park in Ashland, but there were plenty of reasons for addicts who are now drug free to celebrate and for speakers like State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and others to talk about the impact the prescription drug epidemic has had on this region and for others to distribute literature and offer words of encouragement that could convince some to seek help in their battle with their drug addictions.
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