Access to treated water will soon be available to 103 households in Breathitt County whose groundwater supplies have been tainted by pre-1982 coal mining.
The state's Division of Abandoned Mine Lands announced Friday the start of construction of the Copeland-Duck Hollow and River Caney water supply project in Breathitt County.
The project is the result of a 2007 study which showed groundwater in the area had "elevated levels of sulfates, iron, metals and higher conductivity that can be associated with deep mining or stripping" that occurred prior to 1982, said Mark Meade, assistant director of the Division of Abandon Mine Lands.
The water will come from the city of Jackson and will be administered by the Breathitt County Water District. The division, which is funded by fees collected from coal companies, expects the project to cost $1.75 million.
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Contracts were awarded to G&W Construction Co. Inc., which will construct water lines, and American Structures, which will install a 31,000-gallon tank.
To date, the division has spent more than $94.3 million for waterline improvements and has provided more than 13,400 households with water in 24 coalfield counties in Kentucky.