Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

Officials issue citations

A Whitesburg business operator has been cited for the leaking of waste oil into the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Ermine.

The state Department for Environmental Protection said this week that Don Childers was cited for an incident that prompted a drinking water advisory in Letcher County last week.

A petroleum-like odor was reported at the Whitesburg water plant on Nov. 1 and a consumer advisory was issued restricting water use to sanitary flushing.

The state says investigators found a possible source of the contamination on property owned by Childers Oil Co. in Whitesburg. It says oil was found seeping from a plastic-lined pit on the riverbank.

Sources familiar with the situation say it still isn’t clear whether the gasoline odor in the water originated at the site of the seepage at Ermine or whether someone else dumped diesel fuel or gas into the river at another site.

Neither Childers nor workers at his Whitesburg-based company which employs 900 people could be reached for comment. Others familiar with the situation say that Childers officials have received tips from people who say they know of someone dumping diesel fuel into the river as a Corn Night prank on October 30.

Childers was issued the “notice of violation” on Nov. 7 for degradation of surface water, failure to obtain a pollutant discharge permit, unauthorized release of a petroleum product into waters of the commonwealth, disposal of waste at an unpermitted facility, failure to notify of a petroleum release into the environment and endangering the public welfare.

Violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day per violation.

The disposal site is now undergoing remediation.

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