Group forms to evaluate state program managing lead in drinking water

As lawmakers try to get to the bottom the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, a group is forming in Kentucky to make sure something similar doesn’t happen to your drinking water.

Born and raised in Marion, Kentucky, Helen Cullen has used the same tap water her entire life.

"It’s life," Cullen said.

The thought of the water being contaminated like it is in Flint is unimaginable to her.

"I know it. It is a dreadful situation. It’s just terrible," Cullen said.

Her home is one of 1,500 households with water treated by the same water department.

"That’s the whole, overall goal with drinking water is protecting the public’s health," said Marion Utilities Director Brian Thomas.

Thomas is a member of a work group formed to review the process Kentucky water plants use to control lead.

"We want to make sure we don’t have holes in the testing system and regulations," Thomas said.

It’s not just the small systems looking into improvements, but also large systems like Paducah Water Works that serves 65,000 people.

"We know lead can cause brain damage, red cell damage, kidney damage and problems. We know that. There’s no question," Paducah Water Works General Manager Bill Robertson said.

Robertson said that’s why the plant already uses a thorough treatment process. Still, Thomas and Robertson each say you can never be too safe when it comes to your drinking water.

The work group was formed by the Kentucky Water Division. It’s made up of representatives from different water systems around the state. They plan to meet for the first time in a conference call on Wednesday, March 23.

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