‘Tip Of the Spear’: As Customers Beg For Clean Water, Is a Crisis Looming In Appalachia?

The Curtis Crum Reservoir in Martin County, Ky., on Oct. 2, 2018. Water is pumped from the Tug Fork River and stored here before being treated and delivered to residents. Photo: Alex Slitz/Lexington Herald-Leader

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth story in a series titled “Stirring the Waters,” focused on the lack of clean, reliable drinking water in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia.

Jimmy Kerr sat in his real estate office near Pikeville and talked of a looming crisis in Eastern Kentucky.

Kerr is treasurer of the Martin County Water District, a utility that’s made national news amid reports of poor water quality and long outages that have left hundreds of families without running water for days at a time.

The crisis? Whether people in this mountainous and economically distressed region will have access to clean, reliable and affordable drinking water in the coming years.

“We’re at the tip of the spear,” Kerr said. “Places like us — small rural communities whose infrastructure hasn’t been kept up like it should — are gonna start having these issues. You’re gonna start seeing these things pop up all over the country.”

While Martin […]

More about water in West Virginia and Kentucky:

“Wild, Wonderful” West Virginia’s Decapitated Mountains and Deformed Fish

Toxic Firefighting Foam Has Contaminated U.S. Drinking Water

A crisis in Kentucky shows the high cost of clean drinking water

Coal Ash Pollution Threatens Groundwater At Western Kentucky Power Plant

Report: Kentucky Water Systems Serving 1.5 Million Violated Health Standards

Summary
‘Tip Of the Spear’: As Customers Beg For Clean Water, Is a Crisis Looming In Appalachia?
Article Name
‘Tip Of the Spear’: As Customers Beg For Clean Water, Is a Crisis Looming In Appalachia?
Description
The crisis? Whether people in this mountainous, economically distressed region will have clean, reliable and affordable drinking water in the coming years.
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PolitiFact West Virginia
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