Water Ban Lifted, Headwaters does Independent Tests

November 6, 2008
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The Kentucky Division of Water has told customers of the Whitesburg water works that they can resume using city water without restrictions.

Meanwhile, Headwaters Inc. (The Head of Three Rivers Project) conducted its own tests today. A team of samplers from the project collected water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River and from the county and city water systems. The samples were taken to a laboratory for independent analysis.

The city has been without usable water since Saturday after petroleum contamination was discovered in the North Fork of the Kentucky River, and in the city water system. The contamination is coming from a site between the Whitesburg Plaza Shopping Center and Cornerstone Church, and behind Lee’s Famous Recipe in the Ermine section of the city. Heavy equipment was on the site today digging soil from the riverbank. A boom used to control oil slicks could be seen stretched across the river just downstream of the site.

Headwaters Inc.’s board of directors decided Wednesday night to do its own independent tests after officials said it could be as much as a week before the water was usable. After a fundraising appeal this morning, The Sierra Club Water Sentinals offered to pay for lab fees and several private donors chipped in for incidental sampling costs. A team of samplers from Headwaters tested sites in the North Fork upstream and downstream of the contamination, and upstream of the Blackey Water Treatment Plant. The team also sampled tap water from three locations in the Blackey-Isom area and from four locations in Whitesburg.

The laboratory will test the samples for gasoline range organics and diesel range organics, and the results are expected to be available mid-week next week. Headwaters has committed to posting the information on this blog, and to providing it to the news media, no matter what the results.

The water problems were frontpage news in The Lexington-Herald Leader today, and The Associated Press is also now announcing the lifting of the advisory.

Posted by Sam

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