Perry water crisis eases

The Hazard water system is pumping to 99 percent of its 7,000 customers, interim City Manager Carlos Combs said Tuesday.

The city of Buckhorn, a customer of the Hazard utility, was able to pump water into its storage tank on Monday for the first time since Dec. 25, Buckhorn City Clerk Robin Gabbard said.

A temporary connection to the Breathitt County water system was serving about 200 of Buckhorn's customers, including Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, the county schools and the Center for Children and Families, Gabbard said. Officials were waiting to decide whether they could continue pumping from Hazard, or if they would need to bring in tanker trucks to fill the city storage tank, which was serving 50 to 60 people, Gabbard said.

Hazard, working with Kentucky American Water over several days, was able to find several smaller leaks, but nothing on the scale of the major leak in the Fourseam area south of town that drained city storage tanks about two weeks ago, Combs said.

"We're going to continue going through this, sit down and go through the whole system," Combs said.

He said the water intake at the city treatment plant needed work to keep it from freezing in cold weather, and some flow meters in the distribution system needed to be adjusted.

During freezing weather at the beginning of January, a drain on the city storage tanks forced Hazard to shut off service to customers in the north and south of Perry County. A state of emergency was declared because of the drinking-water shortage.

The entire system is on a boil-water advisory until further notice, Combs said.