Some Peaks Mill residents have reported foul-tasting and smelling water in the past week, and the Peaks Mill Water District says a recent Jim Beam warehouse fire is to blame.
Church Quarles, chairman of the Peaks Mill Water District, said the district ran water tests earlier this week and verified that it is safe to drink, despite the odor and taste.
He said the Kentucky Division of Water was also in the area on Wednesday to run its own tests. A pocket of 30 to 40 customers in the Gregory Woods area has been affected by the water with odor, he said.
“We think this is a direct result," Quarles said, of the Jim Beam warehouse fire in Woodford County on July 2.
Debris from the fire spilled into Glenns Creek, then went into the Kentucky River. Quarles said the water district buys its water from the Frankfort Plant Board, which reported shortly after the fire that its customers may notice a taste or odor, but the water is safe to use.
Unrelated to the warehouse fire, the water district issued a boil water advisory for the Swallowfield, Peaks Mill, Elmville and Owen County areas at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday until further notice.
Water should be boiled for a full three minutes before drinking or using to cook.
The water district said the advisory is not related to the odor or taste of the water but because the Plant Board temporarily switched to chlorine in order to repair its chloramine feed process on Saturday.
Peaks Mill has also discovered a leak in its system, so that must be repaired before it can aggressively flush the lines. Quarles said the district is not sure when the problem will be fixed, but it hopefully will be in the next three to four days.
Quarles said that Franklin County 4th District Magistrate Scotty Tracy got Kroger to donate bottled water to the district for residents affected by the smelly water.
The water district called all customers that it believes or knows to be affected to let them know that they can pick up bottled water at the district’s office, which is at 7165 U.S. Highway 127-North, during business hours or after hours at the Owenton Road Fire Station. Several cases of water are still available, as fewer than 10 residents had picked up cases of bottled water as of Wednesday afternoon.
Beth Hawkins, a resident in the area, said her husband picked up two cases of water for their house and for Hawkins’ parents, who live nearby. She doesn’t want to use the water, despite knowing that it’s safe to drink. The water has a “horrible” odor like sulfur or bad eggs. She said the issues have been going on for almost a week.
“For everything in your house, you use water,” Hawkins said.
Her family is afraid to do laundry with the water, has been eating out a lot and has been brushing their teeth with bottled water. Hawkins said even if they don’t use the water, the smell comes into their home through the sinks and plumbing. She’s been using a lot of candles this week to mask the smell.
Hawkins said that she wants transparency in this situation and the issue resolved.
“It is horrible,” she said.
The Peaks Mill Water District holds its monthly board meetings at the office on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be Monday.