Bottled Water Company Provides Water To Kentucky Community Affected By Contaminated Well Water

Aug. 22, 2011

Keeper Springs Natural Spring Water, a bottled water provider that donates 100 percent of its profits to support America's waterways, in partnership with Appalachian Voices and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth announced the arrangement for the immediate donation and delivery of 30,000 bottles of Keeper Springs and Nestle Pure Life Purified Water to 13 Kentucky families in Pike County whose well water is contaminated with methane gas.

"Keeper Springs understands that bottled water plays an important role when safe drinking water is unavailable," said Chris Bartle, co-founder of Keeper Springs in a prepared statement. "Our involvement with the Upper Watauga Riverkeeper at Appalachian Voices alerted us to this tragedy. Supplying a truck load of bottled water to these families is part of our mission, because we believe clean, safe water is a basic human right."

Residents had reported to local authorities back in May of 2011 that their highly contaminated water had the ability to catch on fire, turn to black or orange, and that it burned their skin upon contact. After alerting Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and a nearby coal mining company in hopes of resolving the issue, the residents still find themselves without a permanent source of clean, safe drinking water.

"Based on my direct, first hand experience with contamination of water by coal operations, I am deeply worried about the safety of the drinking water of these families," said Ted Withrow, the former Big Sandy River Basin coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Water. "I just had to take the bull by the horns and get something done."

"In all my 20 years of working on water quality problems, I have never seen a drinking water well catch on fire and burn continuously for days on end," said Donna Lisenby of Appalachian Voices. "When Ted sent me the link to the WKYT new story, I was stunned beyond belief and realized I had to do something. Thankfully, Appalachian Voices has a strong partnership with Keeper Springs, and we were able to act quickly."

The shipment of bottled water will arrive to affected Pike County residents on August 18. Water recipient, Jessica Bevins, expressed her relief and gratitude: "It's good to know there are still a few people that will help someone [they've] never even met. I promise you, I'll never forget [them] for what [they're] doing to help me."

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and Appalachian Voices hosted a brief press conference at 1:30p.m. on August 18, 2011, in Pike County, at: 2884 Big Branch Road, Pikeville, Kentucky. Any media interested in learning more are encouraged to contact Vanessa Giacoppo at [email protected].


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