MOREHEAD – Many were left wondering last week as to why floodwaters were claimed to be the problem of high levels of turbidity in water treated by the Morehead Utility Plant Board (MUPB).
A boil water advisory lasted nearly five days for water systems in eight counties that receive water from MUPB. The city’s system pulls water from Licking River, which became muddy (high turbidity) following rainfall that accumulated up to three inches in some areas in the last week of November.
Sentiments were echoed that it has flooded before without the need for a boil water advisory.
City councilmember Glen Teager advised the body that under normal circumstances, MUPB would ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from Cave Run Lake. This helps dilute particulate matter and make the water easier to filter and treat.
However, according to Teager, a location downstream of MUPB’s water intake was slightly above flood stage and the Corps decided against releasing water, necessitating a boil water advisory for all affected customers.
The real danger is microscopic organisms could continue living on the matter that appears as cloudiness to the naked eye, which carries the risk of infection.
Boiling water for one minute helps negate the risk of contracting some illness through bacteria.
As a result of the advisory, restaurants were unable to offer drinks unless they had their own filtration system and Rowan County Schools were closed one day until bottled water could be brought in.
A new water treatment plant is in the works and is expected to be online by 2022.