Smithland lagoon

SMITHLAND, KY — City staff in Smithland, Kentucky, are going door to door to the homes of people living downstream of the Smithland Wastewater Treatment Lagoon after the mayor says he learned the lagoon embankment is likely to fail. 

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet notified city officials that the embankment of the lagoon, which is located along Highway 453, is seeping and is likely to fail, Smithland Mayor Bill Hesser says in a news release. 

People who live downstream from the lagoon and who receive notification from the city should prepare for possible evacuation if the levee fails, the news release warns. 

Members of the public are advised to stay away from the lagoon and avoid coming into contact with wastewater discharge from it. If contact is made, the release recommends using good hygiene to prevent illness from the wastewater.  

In the news release, Hesser says "the city of Smithland is very aware of the seriousness of the situation, especially with more rain in the immediate forecast." He says the city has hired an engineering firm and is hard at work "to remediate this very old system as fast as we can." 

The mayor says the Livingston County government and the division of water are working with the city to "fix this dangerous situation." 

In a post to its Facebook page, the city asks members of the public to "let anyone you know living in this area, as we want to make sure that they are aware of the situation."

The city also says people can contact the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Emergency Response Branch at 1-800-928-2380 about "any unusual releases from the wastewater lagoon."