E. Ky. residents file suit over contaminated water

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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 3:01 PM

PREMIUM, Ky. (AP) — Dozens of residents in eastern Kentucky have filed a lawsuit against a coal company claiming underground mining has contaminated their water supply.

WYMT-TV (http://bit.ly/WcTkA3 ) reports almost 40 residents in the Letcher County community of Premium have filed suit against United Coal Company, which owns Sapphire Mining's UZ No. 1 and UZ No. 2 mines.

Residents say underground mining at the two locations led to their wells becoming contaminated five years ago.

United Coal Company declined to comment on pending litigation.

"We had wonderful water, clear, crystal clear, soft water, good drinking water, bath water, and all of a sudden it just turned really bad," said plaintiff Sandra Napier. "Until the state ruled Sapphire was at fault, we had to drive to Neon every day and haul drinking water and all of our water because there wasn't any water here."

Kentucky Department for Natural Resources spokesman Dick Brown says Sapphire Mining has supplied drinking water to affected residents since being cited by the state and is working to get them added to a proposed public water project.

"Forcing Sapphire into expensive and protracted litigation while the company awaits word of possible public funding for a permanent water supply solution, a project that should be underway soon, is counter-productive, in the department's opinion," Brown said in a written statement.

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Information from: WYMT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews

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