We have represented the Martin County Concerned Citizens in their fight for safe, affordable drinking water since 2017.
Through our work in Martin County, we have become increasingly aware that Eastern Kentucky families are facing a crisis. While many families in Central Appalachia once relied on wells for drinking water, mining and drilling have destroyed much of the region’s groundwater. This forced people in remote areas to hook up to under-resourced rural water infrastructure that was already stretched thin.
Water infrastructure has been neglected for far too long in the region, often due to financial mismanagement, leaving many small rural water systems in serious disrepair. Because the infrastructure is failing, the water provided by the region’s public utilities is unsafe and unreliable. The area’s water distribution lines, which traverse difficult mountainous terrain, leak far more water than they provide to customers. Water line breaks are common, causing Eastern Kentucky’s water systems to issue far more boil water advisories per year than water systems in the rest of the state. The water systems also violate Safe Drinking Water Act water quality standards far more than the rest of the state, raising significant public health issues.