Evarts water woes ebbing

Published 3:56 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

The city of Evarts has recently suffered issues with the city’s water system which had resulted in numerous outages. The system is currently meeting demand thanks to extensive effort from multiple sources.

Woodrow Fields, Chief Water Plant Operator for the city of Evarts, talked about the current state of the city’s water system on Wednesday.

“We’ve gone from needing over 700 gallons of water a minute coming into the plant to needing just barely over 400,” Fields said. “That’s the level of leaks that we’ve found and fixed.”

Fields explained the repaired leaks have allowed the facility to meet customers’ water demands. He pointed out the city received help from the Harlan County Fiscal Court, the Kentucky Rural Water Association, the Pineville Utility Commission, Constable Scotty Moore and others to get the job done.

“We could not have done it without the help of the Kentucky Rural Water Association and The Pineville Utility Commission,” Fields said. “They were a well-oiled machine and were able to help get some things fixed that were very significant.”

Fields said the Pineville Utility Commission alone fixed four large leaks in two days, accounting for approximately 200 gallons of water per minute.

“That doesn’t count the other 12 to 16 smaller leaks that were found and fixed,” Fields said. “Water loss numbers should be astronomically lower than they have been.”

Leak detection efforts will continue going forward.

“Our guys now have the capability with the training offered by the Kentucky Rural Water Association to leak detect properly,” Fields said. “We’re in much better shape than we were. We’ve had a lot of different people help, the Harlan County Fiscal Court sent backhoe operators, manpower, anything we needed really. We have come a long way, and it’s not been just our doing, we’ve had a lot of hands in the fire and a lot of help. We want to make sure and let them know how much we appreciate everybody that was part of getting the water restored.”

Fields said with water loss levels down the system should be able to meet the demand adequately.

“We should be able to sustain and maintain water levels and not have those kind of outages…so we’re certainly doing much better than we have been,” Fields said.

Fields noted that as of Wednesday, Feb. 2, there had not been any water outages for days.

“We’ve been able to turn off both the river pumps,” Fields said. “What we’re operating on right now is what we’re getting from the mine source and only two wells. There are no outages, and we have excess water now.”

Fields mentioned all water tanks are now at capacity.

“Things are looking much better than they have been for quite some time for the Evarts distribution system,” Fields said.

According to Fields, it is important to stick to the current plan to ensure such an extensive water outage situation does not reoccur.

“The main thing is to keep the plan we have in place,” Fields said. “We’ve got individuals whose sole position is to leak detect, that alone will aid in keeping us from going without water,” Fields said. “If we keep the plan in place that we’ve implemented…this is something that won’t happen again.”