Joe P. Asher
Two Harlan County cities are addressing issues with their water systems.
Cumberland and Evarts have recently had problems getting water delivered to customers. Both cities have had residents either without water completely or without adequate water pressure in the past month.
According to Woody Fields, Chief Water Plant Operator for the city of Evarts, work will be beginning soon to improve Evarts’ water situation.
“The fellow from Kenvirons (Inc.), Barry Back, will be up here this week to start his leak detection and leak prevention training so we’ll start that Wednesday,” said Fields.
Repairing leaks will have an immediate effect on the city’s water supply.
“We’ll know more when he gets here because the water loss is still an issue and that will be something that he can help us with,” said Fields. “That will be an immediate impact on the water loss because once a leak is found it can be fixed.”
Though there are more issues that will be addressed, the first priority has to be leak detection.
“I’m going to stress that (leak detection) be the main focus because that is the number one priority right now. Leak detection and fixing the leaks that we have in the system to cut down on the water loss is just as important as having a new well. Not having to produce as much water is just the same as having more if you need it,” explained Fields.
While fixing leaks is a top priority, there is a good chance a new well will eventually be added.
“That’s something we’re definitely pushing for. All the council members and mayor are on board for that,” said Fields. “That is definitely something that I am keeping in the forefront so we can get that done to prevent any happenings such as we had a couple weeks ago.”
According to Fields, water conservation is an important issue for Evarts at this time.
“The water conservation alert will be in effect until further notice. That will be in effect indefinitely due to the fact that we’ve still not got the new well and the water loss prevention and leak detection hasn’t been performed yet. So until we can feel safer about our supply meeting our demand, we want to keep that water conservation alert in effect,” stated Fields.
Fields pointed out that although customers have not found themselves without water since the outage on Memorial Day weekend, the possibility is still there.
“We’re still just holding our own. We definitely still don’t have any water to spare,” stated Fields. “That’s a cause for concern because if the mine source were to drop without a backup water supply we could have a situation on our hands like we did a couple of weeks ago.”
In order to avoid water outages, responsible water use is recommended.
“Conserve water. If you don’t have to use it don’t,” stated Fields. “as far as watering your yard, filling pools, that’s stuff that folks love to enjoy, but right now we’re going to focus on people having water for their needs.”
In another area of Harlan County, the city of Cumberland has begun water system repairs.
According to Cumberland City Council member David Dixon, the worst of the problems has been repaired.
“Based on memos and so forth from Mayor (Carl) Hatfield, the water issue has been corrected that was causing so many problems with some of the citizens of the Blair community. There was a water leak that was found right up from Blair Park on (U.S.) 119,” said Dixon. “That leak was repaired by two city employees.”
Dixon explained other issues have been dealt with as well.
“Since the leak has been repaired I’ve heard reports from some citizens that some other things have been repaired, such as altitude valves have been adjusted and so forth,” stated Dixon. “Water pressure all over the city has improved.”
Cumberland’s water treatment plant is also undergoing repairs.
“Numerous repairs are taking place at the water treatment plant here in Cumberland,” said Dixon. “Today the C.L. Boggs firm was in town working with our water crew working on some of the improvements that are needed.”
Dixon stated a control panel at the city’s water plant has been repaired by a local electrician, and other repairs are also under way.
Dixon stated along with the C.L. Boggs firm from Wise Virginia, Monarch Engineering of Anderson County and Harlan County’s engineering firm Leo Miller and Associates are working to repair Cumberland’s water system issues.
“There are several different people involved,” said Dixon. “The problems are being taken care of.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com