Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

January 30, 2013

Water restored but who is responsible for logjams?

Jan. 30, 2013 — Water was restored Friday to more than 400 Iron Hill area residents who had been without service for a week.

The outage brought to light several questions about which governmental body, if any, would be responsible for future issues.

The service outage occurred on Friday, Jan. 18. It was caused by debris jamming under a bridge near Iron Hill and causing a line buried under Tygart’s Creek to separate, according to Grayson Utilities Supt. Gerald Haney.

Workers repaired the line the following morning but by afternoon it had broken again, Haney said.

Another repair was done on Sunday, but the line gave way yet again as the logjam continued to play havoc, Haney added.

A total of 443 customers were affected by the outage. Haney personally delivered bottled water to some residents who were unable to make the trip into town.

Larry Dixon, regional response manager for Kentucky Emergency Management, said a “state of emergency” declaration is a judgment call by local officials.

“Both the county judge-executive and the state have the right to declare an emergency,” Dixon told the Journal-Times. “But that should happen only if the local ability to manage the situation has been exceeded. I don't think anything could have been added to the situation in addition to what the water company already was doing.”

Carter County Emergency Management Director Tommy Thompson said in the event of a declared emergency, the county is always prepared.

“We do have a contingency plan, but only in the event of a declared disaster can those plans can go into effect,” Thompson said. “We all have to deal with these situations when they happen. Big cities can use an alternative water route in these events but we are a rural area that doesn't have the means.”

Thompson said downed trees next to the river bank, as well as illegally dumped garbage, create logjams and high water. As far as declaring an emergency, Thompson calls the process “a lot of red tape.”

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