Jenkins has withdrawn from a squabble with Whitesburg over money from a state settlement with Childers Oil, a company that spilled diesel fuel waste into the North Fork of the Kentucky River twice two years ago.
The state Division of Water had allocated part of the $500,000 settlement with Childers Oil to Jenkins, which gets its water from another river, rather than Whitesburg, whose municipal water supply was contaminated by the spills.
On Friday, Jenkins Mayor G.C. Kincer mailed a letter to the Division of Water asking that Whitesburg get the money because that city is dealing with upgrades to its system since a third Childers Oil diesel spill shut off city water in February.
"It has become clear that the City of Whitesburg has again become overwhelmed with another petroleum contamination of its water supply, affecting not only the city but other significant parts of the lower county. ... We understand the difficulties and the responsibilities of trying to maintain a potable water system for an entire city," Kincer wrote in his letter.
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"There's no need kicking the guy when he's down," Kincer said Monday. "We have to work together, and the spirit of that thought is what it's about."
Whitesburg Mayor James "Wiley" Craft said he has requested about $300,000 from the state Division of Water to lower the treatment plant intake below the river's surface, which could help keep floating petroleum products from entering the plant. He said he also requested about $150,000 to install a hydrocarbon sensor that would alert plant workers earlier to pollutants in the river and allow them to shut it down and prevent contamination.
"If we could have a combination of the two, we ought to be able to defeat that problem," Craft said.
Whitesburg had sued to intervene in the Division of Water's Franklin Circuit Court settlement with Childers Oil, claiming that the unspecified "local government" named in the settlement was intended to be the government affected by the spill, not Jenkins.
The Division of Water plans to find a way to fund both projects, spokeswoman Allison Fleck said.
"The mayor of Jenkins was gracious in his letter to the Division of Water," Fleck said.
"It was determined that the Whitesburg drinking water project had greater immediacy and affected more people than the Jenkins sewer project," Fleck said in an email. "The Whitesburg project involves approximately $300,000 to move the raw water intake but does not include the installation of sensors. There is not additional money for Jenkins at this time, but the Jenkins project will be funded at a later date through sources not yet identified."
Jenkins' Dairy Hollow project will install and reroute sewage treatment lines.