Saturday, May 31, 2003

Mine may account for bad water

The Associated Press

HOLMES MILL, Ky. - Nearly 30 residents of this rural community have asked the Kentucky Cabinet for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to investigate why their tap water has a reddish hue and a repulsive odor.

Kerry Holt, a spokeswoman for the state agency, said Thursday that the probe already has begun. She said inspectors should know by July whether mining is to blame, and, if so, which mining company bears responsibility. Holt said she could not identify any company as a prime suspect.

Residents, however, are blaming Lone Mountain Processing, which has the only active mine near their property.

Lone Mountain has promised to correct the problem if it is found at fault.

The company drilled new wells for several of the residents in 1997 after their old ones went dry. The federal Office of Surface Mining found Lone Mountain at fault in that instance.

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