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‘In 2021 it should be different’: Martin County community waits for water

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 8:18 PM EDT
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MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) -For eight years, families in one Martin County community have relied on a token station to bring water into their homes.

The homes, located near the Johnson-Martin County line, are in the service area of Martin County Water and Sanitation District, but the utility company cannot feed water to the homes. Instead, the water company purchases water from another utility company and pumps it into a token station on Spring Knob Lookout Tower Road.

The families who use the service haul their tanks to the token station, insert a token, fill the tanks, then travel back home with their water. Those who live in the area say it is like a glimpse into the olden days.

“That’s just normal life. But you know, in 2021 it should be different,” said Tammy Lewis. “We have talked ‘til we’re blue in the face. It seems like we don’t have a voice.”

Lewis, who has lived in the community for nearly 30 years, said the situation is draining. Especially now, since the station has been out of service for more than six weeks- leaving the families without access to the only water flow they have.

“It is extremely frustrating. Everybody depends on water for everything to brush your teeth, wash your hands, go to the bathroom, whatever it may be,” Lewis said. “I mean, life revolves around water.”

Lewis said the agreement with the water district was the only way to bring the families access to water because the well water was compromised by blasting in the area years ago. Now, they said they feel forgotten- cut off in a world to themselves.

According to Alliance Water Resources Division Manager Craig Miller, the company is working to address the issue this week. But, he said, a crack and break in a valve casing on-site will require more work than a “quick fix.”

He said the number of concerns in the county increased as the flooding and winter weather tore through over the last couple of months. The token station was not as large a priority due to the number of customers impacted by other breaks, but it is now working its way up the list as other projects are completed.

“We’re going to get it fixed. We’re gonna get it fixed as quickly as we can. And once we do that, we’re gonna put some of the measures in place to try to ensure that we don’t have any issues with things breaking in there again.,” said Miller.

Families impacted said they hope to see water flowing soon, which Miller said the company is dedicated to making a reality.

Miller said there is currently no timetable for restoration, but the management group and the water company are working to make it happen soon.

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