More than 200,000 rural Kentuckians have no access to public water systems

Posted on August 6, 2014. Filed under: General News, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , |


By Greg Kocher

gkocher1@herald-leader.comAugust 4, 2014

FRENCHBURG — Debbie and Mike Weiner can see Cave Run Lake from their house, but they depend on rainfall for their water.

Rainwater runs off the roof to their gutters and through pipes to collect in an underground, 1,000-gallon cistern in the backyard. The water is then pumped into the house for bathing, washing clothes and the toilet. They use only bottled water for drinking and cooking.

"Yesterday it rained a lot," Debbie Weiner said in a recent interview. "That’s when I washed my bedclothes and a lot of the things in the house that needed to be washed."

The Weiners are among a shrinking number in Kentucky — an estimated 93,600 households, or more than 234,000 people — who are not connected to a public water system. Their house on Leatherwood Road in rural Menifee County is about eight miles from the nearest water line and 20 miles north of Frenchburg, the county seat.

The Weiners desperately want to be connected to a public water system. At least one test showed harmful E. coli bacteria in their tap water, despite reverse-osmosis filtration, ultraviolet light and other purification measures. The couple haven’t used the cistern water for cooking or drinking since 2012, when Debbie, 60, a former adult-education instructor at Morehead State University, was diagnosed with an incurable bladder disease. She keeps a log of the politicians and others she has contacted in her quest for "city water."

The Weiners highlight one of the gaps in water service in the United States.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 14 percent of the population relies on wells, cisterns or some unsustainable source for water, said Stephen Gasteyer, an associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University. Gasteyer has studied community and natural resources management.

"It’s an embarrassment for us as a nation to have people in the 21st century who don’t have access to water and sanitation," Gasteyer said. "But from the perspective of a small water system, they are already strapped. We had major infrastructure investments in this country in the 1930s … through the 1970s. Well, a lot of that infrastructure is now wearing out. You have water systems of all sizes in this country that are struggling to stay in the black. So taking on the extra load of people who are a ways out of town seems like a real burden."

In Kentucky, about 5 percent of residents are not connected to a community water system, according to figures provided by Andy Lange, assistant director of the Kentucky Rural Water Association. Only California has a lower percentage of residents who are not served by community water systems.

(By contrast, almost a quarter of Kentucky’s population — 23 percent — has no access to high-speed Internet. Kentucky ranks 46th in broadband availability.)

Many water lines were extended into unserved rural areas during the 2000s, when Kentucky had money from the national tobacco settlement. That money is gone, although there is a state revolving fund and other federal programs to extend water lines.

Trouble is, the cost of running water lines to remote spots often isn’t cost-effective, said John Horne, a Nicholasville engineer whose firm has designed extensions in Jessamine County.

"To construct a distribution main, depending on the terrain and how much rock there is, it can run as much as $50,000 to $75,000 per mile," Horne said. The price can easily double in rough terrain common in Eastern Kentucky, including Menifee County.

Community development block grants and other programs are available, but potential projects must qualify, Horne said.

"The government looks at feasibility. If it’s not feasible, … they don’t do it," he said.

Even if lines were extended to isolated pockets, low usage from a small number of customers poses other problems, Horne said.

"Especially on long, dead-end lines, if they can’t use up all the water in the pipe in, say, two days, then it gets stale and then you get problems with odor and taste," Horne said. "Then you have to flush all that out and waste it."

Debbie Weiner has an answer ready when asked why taxpayer dollars should be used to pay for water lines to a remote spot where she and her husband choose to live.

"I think those tax dollars should pay for an American citizen to live anywhere they choose if I can open the paper and see that millions of dollars go to study garbage dumps that are closed," Weiner said. She was referring to environmental risk assessments performed on closed landfills.

She also said that millions of dollars in state incentives will help Alltech put a new bourbon distillery and aquaculture and poultry farms in Pikeville. The state will provide as much as $5.73 million for an access road wide enough to accommodate tractor-trailers to a new industrial park, and $8 million for a bridge to connect an access road with U.S. 23. The incentives will bring new jobs.

Weiner doesn’t begrudge anyone jobs, but she said safe drinking water should be a high priority.

"Then let’s build a better Rupp Arena," she said, referring to the now-stalled project that would have leveraged public and private dollars for a new Lexington home for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team.

Frenchburg Mayor Edward Bryant said Leatherwood Road is one of only two rural roads in Menifee County that are without water. To extend water to the end of that road deep within Daniel Boone National Forest could cost more than $1 million, Bryant said.

"They’re in a remote area. There’s only, roughly, 24 or 25 homes, and out of that there are 12 or 15 people that live there full-time," Bryant said. "We can’t put a burden on the current water customers to extend that. It’s a tough situation."

Nevertheless, he said, the Gateway Regional Water Management Council has put the Leatherwood area on a list of projects.

"For Frenchburg to get over there, we’re going to have to cross that (Cave Run) lake some way," Bryant said. "That means a pump station and a water tower, then you’ve got a problem of meeting the state regulations, keeping the water fresh for such a few. … It’s just not feasible right now unless somebody comes along with a barrel of money."

In the meantime, because rainfall is unpredictable, the Weiners supplement their water supply. When rain is scarce and the cistern runs low, Mike Weiner, 65, a retired car salesman, drives about 12 miles to buy water from a bulk station. For $2, he can put 300 gallons in a tank that sits on the bed of his pickup. Then he hauls the sloshing load home to empty into the cistern.

The Weiners moved to Menifee County from Nashville so Debbie could be closer to her mother, who lives in Mount Sterling. Her mother previously owned property in the Leatherwood Road neighborhood where the Weiners eventually bought a lot and built their house. The couple knew the area had no public water when they moved there in 1998, but they thought it would be only a matter of time before they could hook onto "city water."

Debbie Weiner said she sometimes goes to the Facebook page for Water.org, the organization co-founded by actor Matt Damon to provide safe drinking water and toilets to Ethiopia, Haiti and India and other foreign countries.

She posted a comment to the page July 16 that read, "Wish I had city water here in the United States, in Frenchburg, Kentucky."

She hopes a wealthy celebrity will see her comment and take action to donate money to bring water to the end of Leatherwood Road.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/04/3365284/public-water-systems-still-dont.html#storylink=cpy

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • MARK CHANDLER, ATTY AT LAW

    MARK CHANDLER, ATTORNEY AT LAW markchandlerlaw.com/ call now: 502-589-6190 mark-chandler-profile LOUISVILLE AREA SERVICES
  • CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY

    CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY ALL AREAS OF KENTUCKY William. M Butler Jr. Attorney at Law 200 South 7th Street, Suite 504 Louisville, KY 40202 Telephone: 502-582-2020 FAX: 502-583-8007
  • My Profile!

    ShereeKrider

    Verified Services

    View Full Profile →

  • Interviews at Happiness Hills Farm



  • KCADP

    The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty needs your contact information: Select this link to sign up

    http://kcadp.org/

    Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Why abolish the death penalty in Kentucky?

    It's costly.
    It's out of step with modern thinking.
    It's risky.
    It's unfair, broken, and arbitrary.
    It's unnecessary.
    Victims' families deserve better.

  • Kentucky Hemp Coalition

    QUOTE “That's my goal as AG Commissioner to continue to build new markets for new agricultural crops and that industrial hemp is a viable option for Kentucky. We know it will grow well in this climate. Used to be the leading crop in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner James Comer kentuckyhempcoalition. blogspot.com/
  • A Democracy

    "A Democracy is when two wolves

    and a sheep take a vote on what's

    for dinner. A Republic is when the

    sheep is well armed and can beg to

    differ with the vote.

    " Benjamin Franklin"

    22 years ago...
    Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.
    ...
    The judge recommends that the Administrator transfer marijuana from Schedule I to
    Schedule II.

    Francis L. Young
    Administrative Law Judge
    September 6, 1988
    Docket No. 86-22
    UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    Drug Enforcement Administration
    33 years ago...
    "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."

    President Jimmy Carter
    Message to Congress
    August 2, 1977

  • Kentucky, “Dark and Dangerous Ground”

    The Dark and Bloody Ground

    The popular belief that the name Kentucky means "Dark and Bloody Ground" is apparently without foundation. Yet through the years, the image has persisted in literary and oral tradition as a description of the Kentucky country.

    One traditional explanation sites Delaware legend in which the ancient tribe of the Lenni-Lanape allied with the Iroquois to fight the Allegewi, the original inhabitants of Kentucky. In a single bloody battle the Allegewi were virtually exterminated. The land where an entire nation had been eradicated became known as the "dark and bloody ground". The violent clashes between the Iroquois and the southern Indians only helped reinforce the image.

    In his book, "Historical Sketches of Kentucky" (1874), Richard H. Collins says that a northern Indian once asked Indian fighter Joseph H. Daveiss how white men could live in land that had seen so much bloodshed. The Indian said that the ghosts of those killed in the Indian wars haunted the land making it dangerous.

    At the execution of the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals the Cherokee Cheif Dragging Canoe is said to have told Col. Richard Henderson that the lands south of the Kentucky river were "bloody ground"and would be "dark and difficult to settle". However Ruben T. Durrett said in his book, "The Centenary of Kentucky"(1892) that the phrase was used to discourage Henderson from purchasing the land.

  • Our Environment

    Toxic chemicals in our environment, such as mercury, lead, and certain manmade chemicals, have been linked to cancer, birth defects and brain impairments. Reducing or eliminating the load of these dangerous chemicals in the products we buy, the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink can help reduce the toll of human disease and suffering.

    http://www.nrdc.org/health/default.asp

  • PLEASE DO NOT USE!

    PLEASE DO NOT USE SO CALLED "SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA" OR "SPICE" SOLD UNDER AN EVER INCREASING VARIETY OF NAMES! IT IS NOT MARIJUANA AT ALL AND I AM INSULTED THAT THE WORDS SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA ARE USED TO DESCRIBE THESE SUBSTANCES! "FAKE DRUGS" WOULD SUFFICE! THEY KILL! PLEASE COPY AND OPEN THE LINK BELOW TO READ ONE STORY ABOUT THESE "FAKE DRUGS"! http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/60e0b41dcfeb4c8896f89c4a7409dc99/KY--Synthetic-Drugs/ PARENTS, WATCH YOUR CHILDREN! BETTER TO OFFER THEM THE REAL THING THAN TAKE A CHANCE ON THEM GETTING A HOLD OF SUCH GOD-AWFUL SUBSTANCES! "...Officials said the powdery substance sold as bath salts mimic the effects of cocaine, ecstasy and LSD. It can be snorted, injected or mixed with drinks for food. The chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heart rates, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts. Synthetic marijuana contains organic leaves coated with chemicals that provide a marijuana-like high when smoked. The product is marketed under various brands include Spice and K2. The synthetic drugs can be purchased on the Internet and in some tobacco and smoke shops, drug paraphernalia shops, gas stations and convenience stores..." OF NOTE: THESE PRODUCTS ARE MOST OFTEN USED BY THOSE WHO ARE FORCED TO SUBMIT TO "DRUG TESTIING".... THAT IS WHY THAT THEY HAVE BECOME SO POPULAR ALONG WITH THE FACT THAT THEY ARE READILY AVAILABLE FOR SALE TO MINORS - OR SOMEONE WHO WOULD PURCHASE FOR A MINOR. THIS HAS TO STOP!
  • RSS Sen. Mitch McConnell News

    • Obama White House Shreds The Republican Senate Budget That Mitch ... - PoliticusUSA March 27, 2015
      Daily SignalObama White House Shreds The Republican Senate Budget That Mitch ...PoliticusUSAThe White House is sending the message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that the Republican budget he just passed will be rejected by President Obama unless serious changes are made. In a statement, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said ...How Republicans […]
    • Larry Tribe and Mitch McConnells Flagrant Constitutional Error - Politico March 25, 2015
      PoliticoLarry Tribe and Mitch McConnells Flagrant Constitutional ErrorPoliticoWhen Mitch McConnell sent his recent letter to the nation's governors urging them to ignore the White House's upcoming clean-power rules, it was striking for two reasons. First, as the headlines pointed out, it's a dramatic moment when a congressional ...Vermont Gove […]
    • Mitch McConnell Praises Harry Reid as 'Formidable Opponent' - Newsmax March 27, 2015
      NewsmaxMitch McConnell Praises Harry Reid as 'Formidable Opponent'NewsmaxSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who announced Friday that he would not seek re-election in 2016 after five terms in the upper chamber of Congress. "Nothing has ever come easily to this son of ...Mitch McConnell Praises […]
    • Black Women March To Sen. Mitch McConnell's Office To Push Loretta Lynch ... - News One March 28, 2015
      News OneBlack Women March To Sen. Mitch McConnell's Office To Push Loretta Lynch ...News OneMitch McConnell has said a vote on Lynch won't happen until a human trafficking bill is dealt with. On Thursday, 20 prominent African-American women took to Capitol Hill to protest the slow walking and stalling of the Lynch Attorney General ...Black women ma […]
    • Climate, Scott and Mitch McConnell - Huffington Post March 26, 2015
      Climate, Scott and Mitch McConnellHuffington PostThere are two ways to attack climate change. One comes from Rick Scott of Florida and the other from Mirthful Mitch McConnell of Tennessee. They attack the same problem with different weapons. It all revolves around what some people call "climate change.
  • RSS Ron Paul News

    • Ron Paul supporters bolt Rand Paul camp - Politico March 26, 2015
      PoliticoRon Paul supporters bolt Rand Paul campPoliticoThat network of committed supporters was expected to convey to Paul, the natural successor to Ron Paul's libertarian movement, providing him with a plug-and-play ground organization in the make-or-break early voting states. But instead of embracing the ...Ron Paul supporters turn their backs on Rand […]
    • Why Ron Paul is Right about Ukraine - Antiwar.com (blog) March 23, 2015
      Antiwar.com (blog)Why Ron Paul is Right about UkraineAntiwar.com (blog)Some of these same libertarians supported Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012, and presumably laughed along with the rest of us when the neocons tried to paint him as “pro-Saddam” for opposing the Iraq War and for debunking the lies and distortions that were ...
    • How Will the Yemeni Civil War End? - Antiwar.com March 26, 2015
      Eurasia ReviewHow Will the Yemeni Civil War End?Antiwar.comThe Civil War in Yemen is rapidly expanding. We have been forced to close our embassy and military base located there. It is now clear that Obama's optimism for fighting terrorism in Yemen was misplaced. It hardly sets a standard for dealing with ...Ron Paul: Yemen Exploding, Is The Stage Set Fo […]
    • My libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies ... - Salon March 2, 2015
      SalonMy libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies ...SalonI read the books by Charles Murray and have an autographed copy of Ron Paul's “The Revolution.” The thread that links all the disparate books and ideas is that they fail in practice. Eliminate all taxes, privatize everything, load a country up with ...and more » […]
    • Ron Paul: 'More terrorist attacks have been thwarted by airline passengers ... - Washington Times March 2, 2015
      Personal Liberty DigestRon Paul: 'More terrorist attacks have been thwarted by airline passengers ...Washington TimesRon Paul of Texas says Americans would be better off if Congress transferred the few constitutional functions performed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to other parts of the government and then shut the rest down, saying the […]
  • RSS Kentucky.Gov Press Releases

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Kentucky.Gov News

  • RSS Kentucky.gov/hemp

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Law Enforcement, Narcotics, Anti-corruption

  • RSS KENTUCKY SIERRA CLUB

    • 2015 KY General Assembly Wrap-Up March 23, 2015
      Weather and Short Session Challenge 2015 Kentucky General Assembly by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee ChairCumberland Chapter, Sierra Club This year should go down as one of the most unproductive sessions of the KY General Assembly, and nature ironically had a … Continue reading →
    • ALERT HB229 Hearing Cancelled March 5, 2015
      ALERT: DUE TO WEATHER – THIS MARCH 5TH HEARING IS CANCELLED – POSTPONED The Clean Energy Opportunity Act, HB229 (see below for details on this bill), was scheduled to receive a hearing today (March 5, 2015), but due to inclement … Continue reading →
    • KY Clean Energy Opportunity Act – Help Us Get It Passed March 3, 2015
      ACTION ALERT: The Clean Energy Opportunity Act, HB229 (see below for details on this bill), is receiving a hearing this Thursday (March 5, 2015). We need your help to get this legislation passed.  Please: Call Your Representative Call the KY … Continue reading →
    • Legislative Actions: Environment, Energy on Our Agenda January 30, 2015
      by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee Chair Cumberland Chapter, Sierra Club The Kentucky General Assembly officially opened January 6th with the swearing in of all 100 Representatives and 37 Senators. The Democrats have a 54-46 edge in the House and the … Continue reading →
    • Google Dumps ALEC October 17, 2014
      Huge news! First Google, then Yelp and Facebook… but where’s eBay? Tell eBay: Quit ALEC today! Google is dumping the Koch-fueled American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an extremist group that pushes legislation like forcing public schools to teach climate denial. … Continue reading →
  • RSS Committee to Protect Journalists – Alerts

    • Media outlets raided and banned as conflict spirals in Yemen March 27, 2015
      New York, March 27, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned for the safety of Yemeni journalists amid escalating violence in the country. Houthi forces have raided news outlets, detained journalists, and banned websites, while satellite TV operators ceased to broadcast stations that recently came under Houthi control, according to news report […]
    • Two Bolivian journalists threatened after reporting on police scandals March 27, 2015
      Bogotá, March 27, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns death threats that, according to CPJ interviews and news reports, were made against two Bolivian TV journalists investigating police corruption in central Cochabamba state, and calls on authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
    • Journalist jailed on extremism charges in Moldova's Transdniester region March 26, 2015
      New York, March 26, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention of a journalist in the separatist Transdniester region of Moldova and calls on authorities to release him immediately. Sergei Ilchenko, a freelance contributor to local and regional media, has been held for more than a week and equipment seized from his and his son's h […]
    • Three journalists arrested in Maldives while covering protests March 26, 2015
      March 26, 2015, New York--Authorities in the Maldives should immediately release three journalists detained this week while covering political demonstrations in the archipelago nation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
    • Omani blogger Muawiyah Alrawahi detained for more than a month March 26, 2015
      New York, March 26, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the welfare of Omani blogger Muawiyah Alrawahi, who was detained while attempting to enter the United Arab Emirates by car from Oman. Alrawahi, who has criticized Omani authorities on his blog and YouTube channel, has long been persecuted for his work, according to news reports […]
  • RSS Voices of the Civil War, a Library of Congress blog

  • RSS Corporate Cannabis

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,578 other followers

%d bloggers like this: