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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB041 (2000)

ARLB041 Kentucky Hams Help in Coal Sludge Spill Disaster

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 41  ARLB041
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  October 19, 2000
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB041 Kentucky Hams Help in Coal Sludge Spill Disaster

Amateur Radio operators in eastern Kentucky are helping their
neighbors to cope with a lack of drinking water in the wake of a
coal sludge spill that has cut off water supplies. More than 200
million gallons of coal waste flooded waterways without warning
October 11 after a coal plant retention pond near Inez gave way.

The resulting pollution--described as being the consistency of wet
cement or molasses--has forced communities in the path of the spill
to close water intakes and rely on existing water supplies.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service has not yet been activated, but
ARES remains on stand-by to provide emergency communication, if
needed. Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, says the
Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has requested Amateur
Radio assistance in Martin County, where the spill originated.

In Lawrence County, Emergency Coordinator Fred Jones, WA4SWF, says
hams are helping to supplement communication among the different
agencies involved whose radios operate on a variety of different
frequencies. But Jones says the primary need has been making sure
affected residents have water to drink, cook, and bathe with.

Jones says officials are concerned there might not be enough water
to fight a fire. Another worry is that heavy rainfall could cause
widespread flooding.

Kentucky Gov Paul Patton declared a state of emergency Monday in a
large portion of northeastern Kentucky. Affected are the counties of
Boyd, Bracken, Carter, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin,
Mason, and Robertson.


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