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Sewage saga; fishers report sewage leaks, county continues to fight flooding and aging infrastructure

Fears of raw sewage leaking into the North Fork of the Kentucky River continue.
Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - In 2017, WYMT broke the story of raw sewage leaking into the North Fork of the Kentucky River that was confirmed by city officials.

Then, officials said it was an old pump that was overwhelmed by what was being put in it.

Ryan Hurt is a native of Perry County. He was the person who in 2017 reported the leaks to WYMT.

“With people kayaking past that it just puts out a bad name for Eastern Kentucky and Hazard in general,” said Hurt.

Hurt videotapes the leaks and reports them to city and county officials, hoping for quick fixes.

“I’ve seen them from my boat here, which is a jet drive it allows me to go into low water which most people can’t get into unless they hike into it or buy a kayak,” said Hurt.

County Judge Executive Scott Alexander is one of the people who follow along with the sewage saga.

“We’ve been told we have three leaks, and the one is what we’re aware of, but we’re looking for the others because we want our river to be clean,” said Alexander.

Alexander acknowledges that there are sewage leaks, but he commends the crews for spotting them and getting to them quickly.

“This one here was caused by the continuous flooding when the water gets up it gets into the pump systems, you have to get the sand and stuff back out, and so it’s a continuous battle when you have high water you have to get them cleaned out. They’re working, but they’re not working correctly the way they’re supposed to work,” said Alexander.

Again, he says he knows that leaks happen, but what he wants to focus on is since his first term in office the river has been cleaned up, and focus continues to be on the important role in the future it plays for Perry County.

“Peoples coming from everywhere to fish it. I mean, the words getting out on how great the fish are and I know we’ve done some stories on sewer leaks and we want to repair that system and get it working to the best of its ability,” said Alexander.

While there are disagreements on both sides with how the leaks are handled, and the count of how many there are, one thing both sides agree on is the fishing in the river, almost can’t be beaten.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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