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Martin water treatment problems bigger than previously thought

News of Martin’s wastewater treatment troubles could cause headaches for programs such as the Big Sandy Water Trail. Last week, news of unprecedented polluting by the city of Martin’s wastewater treatment plant sent shockwaves through the community. Numerous violations against the plant have some wondering about the safety of the water. During inspections of the treatment plant, water leaving the facility was found to have extraordinarily high levels of e. coli bacteria. This presents a problem for water tourism, due to the dangers of swimming in highly polluted water.

The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by sewage is gastroenteritis, though swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases like dysentery, hepatitis, cholera and typhoid fever. Most of these diseases require drinking or swallowing of the infected water, although some can be transmitted through wounds exposed to water.

In a related story, an investigation into the city of Martin’s water treatment plant shows multiple violations for polluting the waters of Floyd County--and these are violations which could be environmentally disastrous and cost the city millions in fines from the Department of Environmental Protection. Since 2005, the Martin Wastewater Treatment Plant has received nine notices of violation. The earliest of the records obtained dates back to November 2005, when the plant was notified by the Department for Environment Protection that the facility was not being operated or maintained as specified by regulations. Deficiencies were noted with the lagoon, the oxidation ditches, the disinfectant unit, and the operator was nowhere to be found. The plant was given 30 days to correct the problems before a follow up inspection. Since that visit in 2005, the plant has been cited eight more times, with 39 violations — 23 of which came within the last year. A cursory examination of the 2011 reports shows a consistent failure on the part of the plant to operate within the DEP regulations.

Filed under: Floyd Co. | Environment


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