Millions in grants will help Martin Co. repair water lines

INEZ, Ky. (AP) — Federal and state leaders announced a $3.4 million project to repair water line systems that are on the brink of collapse in Martin County.

Officials in the far eastern Kentucky county have said the water department is in dire financial straits and they have been forced to shut off water to residents for days at a time. The Appalachian county has a history of low water pressure and leaky lines.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Gov. Matt Bevin secured the multi-million project that will install a secondary water intake in the Tug Fork River. Other work will include upgrading the Crum Reservoir dam and making improvements to the water treatment plant.

“We have listened to the concerns of the local community, and the grant and corresponding project plan will provide assistance and address needed repairs and improvements within the local water district” Bevin said in a press release Saturday.

The money will come from grants from the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The work includes a monitoring system to allow water plant operators to check on water tanks, pump stations, and control valves within the system

Rogers, whose district includes several Appalachian counties, acknowledged the project won’t fix everything that’s wrong with the county’s water system, but said the funding “is a big step in the right direction.”

The improvements will also address emergency water outages that happened in December and January, the officials said.