Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

January 14, 2014

Water woes

Last few days have remined us of how vulnerable we are

ASHLAND — “Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”

t

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.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Dismal numbers

    The good news is that the health ratings of all but two area counties improved in the latest ranking of the state’s 120 counties. However, before we pat ourselves on the back for those improvements, the overall health of residents of counties in northeast Kentucky remains rather dismal. Yes, we are improving but we still have a long, long way to go.

    April 2, 2014

  • Kentucky losing many of its old barns

    Many of those of us who are old enough to remember traveling on two-lane highways  have fond memories of the role barns played in keeping us informed. By reading advertisements painted on roadside barns, we learned about Mail Pouch chewing tobacco and Rock City and Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tenn.

    March 26, 2014